Abbott unveils paid parental leave

A NURSERY full of plants, animals and children provided the perfect backdrop yesterday for Opposition Leader Tony Abbott to unveil the final details of his $8.8 billion paid parental leave scheme.

Mr Abbott, accompanied by his daughter Louise, insisted he had “become attached” to the idea of paid parental leave, which he once said would be introduced “over his dead body”.

The six-month scheme comes with superannuation payments and a price tag of $8.8 billion from 2012-14, but its introduction has been delayed until July, 2012.

“It's very important that my daughter's generation doesn't have to struggle the way their mothers did to wrestle with the different choices of work and family,” Mr Abbott said at the bustling venue in Brisbane.

The scheme will be funded through a $1.55 million “temporary” levy on big business, in line with the coalition's promised company tax cuts.

Mr Abbott said the higher than expected cost meant it would not be implemented until 2012, but until then Labor's legislated 18-week scheme, paid at the federal minimum wage, would stay.

Opposition frontbencher Sophie Mirabella, who attended the launch with her eight-week-old daughter Katarina, said women would be understanding.

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