Parents’ verdict on Dom’s $49k kids’ fund

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With less than two weeks until polling day, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet’s plan to give NSW kids a future fund which could give them up to $49,000 when they hit 18, could be the drawcard to secure the Coalition a historic fourth term.

The $850m keystone election pitch promise will initially allow all kids in NSW to opt in, with the government making an initial deposit of $400. Parents, grandparents and guardians can make annual deposits up to $1000, with the state matching contributions up to $400.

The government estimates the cash funds could grow to about $28,000 through matched contributions and interest alone.

Once the child turns 18, they can access the money to help pay for their education (HECS debt, textbooks, tools and a laptop) or to purchase a home.

When asked by NCA NewsWire, parents were generally positive of the plan. While most said they would immediately opt in, others said it wasn’t enough to sway their vote.

Single mum Nadine Grant said that while she didn’t know whether she would be able to budget $400 a year to benefit from the maximum government contributions, she says the account would “incentivise” her to save.

“The biggest thing when you have kids is trying to save while trying to survive and put a roof over their head,” she said.

Single mum Nadine Grant said it would ‘incentivise’ her to save. Picture: NewsWireSingle mum Nadine Grant said it would ‘incentivise’ her to save. Picture: NewsWire

Ms Grant said she relied on Centrelink payments plus occasional weekend work to “get them through”; however, the savings would be “something she wouldn’t have had in years to come”.

“You never know how much you’re going to have at the end of the fortnight because you never know how much groceries are going to be,” she said.

“But as they get older, even $20 is enough. It’s something they wouldn’t have had in the years to come.”

For paramedic Jasmine Starr and her partner Felicity Canhan, the promise of a $49k nest egg wasn’t enough to sway them to vote for the Coalition.

While the couple – who have an 11-month-old daughter – backed the policy, they said it wasn’t enough to undo the neglect and pressure put on the “broken” healthcare system over the few years.

“We have been reamed by the government. Until someone supports paramedics I’m not interested in a Liberal government,” Ms Starr said.

“I’ve been in my job for 17 years and it’s worse now than it’s ever been.”

“Jas works 14 hours plus and doesn’t get an opportunity for a break. That’s not fair, that’s not normal,” Ms Canhan added.

Felicity Canhan and Jasmine Starr, with daughter Mackenzie, won’t change their vote. Picture: NewsWire/ Jessica Wang.Felicity Canhan and Jasmine Starr, with daughter Mackenzie, won’t change their vote. Picture: NewsWire/ Jessica Wang.

Although Ms Canhan would create an account for her daughter if given the option, she said the plan ignored low-income families. She also believed preschool, primary and high school education was more important to her child’s future.

“In an area like Riverwood, where you have 80 per cent of people who are in housing commission, how do they look after their kids?” she said.

“At the end of the day it’s going to benefit those who are better off more. That’s disappointing.”

Fellow single mum of two Jedda Josey said she would “definitely” sign her children up to the program.

“I think it’s beneficial for the kids in the future to be able to put that money aside for them so it makes a difference when they’re older,” she said.

Although the Riverwood resident hadn’t decided which party would get her vote on March 25, she backed the funds not being spent until the child turned 18.

“Even though things can get hard and you do want to get hold of the funds, you can’t and your kids can do something they’d like to do with it in the future,” she said.

Single mum of two Jedda Josey backed the policy. Picture: NewsWireSingle mum of two Jedda Josey backed the policy. Picture: NewsWire

‘Publicly subsidised trust fund’

Politically, the cash fund has been somewhat unsurprisingly denounced by Labor and the Greens.

Like Ms Starr, the main criticisms say it unfairly benefits well-off families and ignores households who need immediate financial relief.

Opposition Leader Chris Minns said the funds invested into the “expensive” policy would be better directed to education, healthcare or immediate cost-of-living measures.

“Any spare disposable income is going on the mortgage, or it’s going on energy costs, and we need to make sure that public policy reflects the situation that those families are encountering today,” he said.

“The single best investment we can make in the next generation of young Australians is to ensure we’ve got a world-class education system in this state.”

NSW Labor Leader Chris Minns questioned the ‘expensive’ policy. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gaye GerardNSW Labor Leader Chris Minns questioned the ‘expensive’ policy. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gaye Gerard

Greens Treasury spokeswoman Abigail Boyd said it was a “a publicly subsidised trust fund for the children of the well off” that will “entrench inequality for generations to come”.

“I don’t know which households the Premier is talking to that have a spare thousand dollars to set aside each year to buy their children’s way into our cooked housing market, but they’re not the people who are needing help right now,” she said.

Defending the plan, Mr Perrottet said it helped school leavers to pursue education or training and directly supported families through matched contributions.

“We will back you and will back your children, that is the best thing a government can do,” he said.

Read related topics:Dominic PerrottetNSW State Election 2023

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