Mr Abbott addressed Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's response to a letter sent to him regarding spying allegations. (AAP Image/David Crosling)
Mr Abbott addressed Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's response to a letter sent to him regarding spying allegations. (AAP Image/David Crosling) AAP - David Crosling

Cost of $5.5 billion parental leave scheme no barrier

THE cost of Prime Minister Tony Abbott's $5.5 billion paid parental leave scheme will be no barrier to the policy, despite reports of recommendations to limit the scheme.

The Commission of Audit has recommended limiting the scheme's cost through alternatives including cutting the number of eligible parents.

But a report in The Australian on Monday indicated that the Abbott Government would not consider any alternatives, despite internal party division and business concerns about it.

The scheme would give parents on up to $150,000 a year $75,000 to take six months off to care for their newborn baby, partly funded by a 1.5% levy on big business.

But government MPs have voiced their concerns about the cost, while The Greens have offered to pass it if it was limited to parents earning up to $100,000.

While the government would need to pass legislation to ensure the leave policy becomes a reality, concerns about its cost are rising as the government prepares its first budget.

The government has to date refused to release the audit's recommendations, but is expected to in the next fortnight, before budget night on May 13.


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