That a father-of-six (going on seven) would throw a huge sum of taxpayer cash at parents isn’t that surprising, but it is shocking.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet, as part of a $2.8billion post-lockdown stimulus package, is handing out $250 vouchers to all households with children in school.
Parents can claim them from March and use them on recreation, entertainment, or accommodation – with or without the kids.
That would easily qualify Mr Perrottet, who calls himself the ‘premier for families’ and on Sunday announced his wife Helen was expecting their seventh child.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet, who has six children (all but one pictured), is handing out $250 vouchers to all households with school-aged children
Mr Perrottet on Sunday announced his wife Helen is expecting their seventh child, a baby girl, next year
NSW had about 1.24 million school students last year, out of a population of 8.17 million across about 2.77 million households.
Just 22.6 per cent per cent of NSW households in the 2016 census had at least one child in school, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Should all 624,602 of them take up the premier’s offer, that’s more than $156 million, largely sourced from childless taxpayers, buying them a few trips to the zoo.
The other 2.14 million households, 77.4 per cent of the state, get nothing other than the sour taste of paying for this boondoggle.
Mr Perrottet justifies this extraordinary snub to most of his state as a ‘thank you’ for homeschooling their children for months of classroom closures.
‘One of the biggest challenges for so many families during lockdowns was learning from home, and now as life returns to normal we want to encourage people to get out and boost economic activity,’ he said.
‘In many senses this is a ‘thank you’ that will go some small way towards helping family finances that took a big hit and at the same time supporting businesses and jobs.’
Parents can claim them from March and use them on recreation, entertainment, or accommodation – with or without the kids. Pictured is Sydney Aquarium
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet and his wife Helen with four of their soon to be seven children
Mr Perrottet apparently doesn’t care that non-parents disproportionately struggled with pandemic-induced job losses, or the mental health impacts of living alone.
Parents also already benefit from numerous tax breaks and subsidies that childless people could only dream of receiving.
And if the goal is to stimulate the economy, the money is better off in the hands of those most likely to spend it – those with the time to do so right away.
Instead the premier hurls millions of yours and my tax dollars at the demographic he most closely identifies with, and ignores those with the temerity to not procreate.
Where can parents use the $250 voucher?
Amusement, theme and water parks
Live music operations, performing arts operations, theatres and entertainment centres
Museums, galleries and historic sites
Recreational activities such as go-karting, indoor climbing, mini-golf, billiards, bowling or ice-rinks
Scenic and sightseeing transport
Travel agencies and tours
Zoos, botanic gardens, wildlife parks and nature reserves
Source: NSW Government
Or perhaps Mr Perrottet just calculates that young people won’t vote for him anyway and older childless or empty-nest voters are already in the bag, so parents of school-aged children are the votes he needs.
Outrage at this discriminatory spending came thick and fast from anyone brutally snubbed for the crime of not adding to NSW’s population.
Others said it was unfair on parents with toddlers below school age and grandparents who helped out during the lockdown.
But the premier insisted there was ‘something for everyone’ in the wider package to get the NSW economy moving again after Covid lockdowns.
Mr Perrottet said 300,000 people lost their jobs in NSW last year including 250,000 since June.
Treasurer Matt Kean said the unemployment rate in NSW would hit 6.4 per cent in December.
He said the package would boost confidence, provide fresh opportunities and support NSW to return to a way of life ‘we know and love’.
‘But we don’t just want to recover what we lost, we want to bounce back better than ever – and this package lays the foundations to do exactly that,’ he said.
The treasurer said the four-month lockdown from June to October cost the state’s economy $50 billion.
What is NSW doing to boost the economy after lockdown?
The NSW Government’s Economic Recovery Strategy includes:
· $500 million to restore consumer and business confidence, including the expansion of Dine & Discover and Stay & Rediscover accommodation vouchers;
· $250 million to support jobs and skills, including help for job seekers to retrain or upskill;
· $212.2 million to boost vital sectors, including additional funding for the performing arts sector, an Alfresco Restart Package, and support to bring our cities back to life;
· $200 million to boost regional NSW, including support for events, facilities and local infrastructure, and housing; and
· $75 million to boost communities across the state, including support for tourism, events, sport and recreation.
The strategy also assists those most impacted during lockdown including:
· $739.3 million in household and social support, including housing support for vulnerable Aboriginal communities, expansion of solar rebates, support measures for victims of domestic and family violence, and vouchers to parents who have facilitated home learning for their children;
· $495 million in education support to address learning gaps for children in need and to help schools adapt to future possible learning disruptions; and
· $130 million for a mental health recovery package to provide immediate access to help for anyone whose mental health has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.