Parents will benefit from new parenting centres, access to more maternal and child health nurses, more children’s emergency departments, and other support including a package containing essential baby items for first-time parents.
The Andrews Government will invest a further $232 million (on top of an existing $230 million investment in maternal and child health services) to assist new parents if re-elected in Saturday’s state election.
The funding will provide:
- seven early parenting centres and refurbishment of two existing centres to provide first aid training, sleeping and feeding support, and day and longer residential stays
- a revamped 24-hour phone specialist line for parents dealing with sleep and settling issues
- more home visits to provide around 7000 vulnerable families more support
- extra parent group sessions for first-time parents focusing on sleep and transition to parenthood.
A further $62.4 million will be allocated for five new children’s emergency departments at Geelong, Maroondah, Frankston, Casey and Northern hospitals, and $31 million to Royal Children’s Hospital for a new 30-bed ward and an extra 20 cubicles in the emergency department.
The Andrews Government will also provide a ‘baby bundle’, based on the Finnish äitiyspakkaus (maternity package) program where first-time parents will receive essential baby products, including a safe sleeping bag, nappy bag, teething rings and information on child safety, feeding and emergency contacts.
Additionally, the government will encourage more employers to offer paternity leave in addition to existing commonwealth paid parental leave by legislating for a payroll tax exemption to cover all employer paid parental leave. Currently only employer-provided maternity leave and federal government paid parental leave is exempt from payroll tax.