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Mike's Editorial: The cost of a child

Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Thursday, 9 April 2015, 9:30a.m.
(Photo: stock.xchng)
(Photo: stock.xchng)

So it’s taken nine days.

Change came on April 1 and you just really stood there counting and waiting, how long it would be before the stories of upset and outrage began.

Answer? Eight days.

The Government has changed the way liable parents pay for their children. It’s a better, fairer system.

It is based on what it actually costs to run a kid as opposed to the previous system whereby it was based on what you earned.

Under the old system if you were on a high wage, but didn’t see a lot of your child, in other words if the child lived predominantly with one parent, you were charged a lot of money based on your income.

The fact that that child didn’t actually need all of that money didn’t really count - it was madness.

Now, you pay what the child needs.

The only variable factor is the time spent in each parents home. It starts out at 50/50. At which point the bill to either parent is basically balanced out.

But the stories of woe and hardship have begun, of parents seeing the new formula and therefore the new bill and working out they’ve got nothing left to live on.

The latest one I read was this. A couple who have two kids of their own, is also paying for the child of the bloke’s from a previous relationship who he doesn’t see very often. The complaint is they don’t have much money left.

Then you read the rest of the story. She can’t work because, wait for it, she’s pregnant.

So at that point your sympathy is surely out the window.

Given if they can’t afford it…why are they having more children?

Why are they suggesting they can’t afford the new bill for one child if magically they think they can afford the bill for a new one.

All the stories so far are the same. 'It’s not fair'. 'It’s too much', 'we’re broke'.

Here are some facts: 33,000 liable parents do pay more, but 46,000 pay less and 58,000 see no change.

In other words, only 25 percent are adversely affected.

Yet 100 percent of the stories are about them.

Why is that? That’s called the media. Woe and misery grabs headlines every time.

When the real story is this - at last we have a system that recognises the real cost of a child as opposed to a fantasy one.

At last we have a system in which the parents are actually made to face the cost of having a that child as opposed to pleading poor and paying little if anything and leaving the rest to the poor old tax payer.

Children cost money. If you can’t afford it, don’t have them. It’s not hard.       

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