— With AAP.
First-time parents in Victoria will get more postnatal support to care for their baby and the chance to take more parental leave if Labor is returned to government.
Labor has pledged $26.7 million in funding for postnatal support services, such as maternal and childhood health nurses, The Age reported on Monday.
According to Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, 35,000 first-time parents each year would receive a ‘baby bundle‘ worth approximately $150 if Labor is re-elected at the Victorian election on Saturday.
The bundle will include products and information from local Victoria businesses, including a nappy bag, a teething ring, a safe sleeping bag, muslin wrap and various picture books.
“The Baby Bundle will set new parents up with the products and information they need, so they can focus on their precious new child,” Premier Andrews said in a statement released today.
The Labor government have also pledged to invest a further $232 million in a comprehensive package of new parent and early childhood supports for Victorian parents.
The money pledged will go towards the building of seven new Early Parenting Centres, which will provide new parents with the advice they need as well as extra care for babies with additional needs.
Labor also plan to fund a 24-hour phone line with specialists in sleep and settling issues.
Alys Gagnon, Executive Director of parent advocacy group The Parenthood, said the additional support will be very welcome.
“Sleep is of primary concern to most new parents, and while some sleeplessness is normal in the first weeks and months after a baby is born, lots of parents need extra support to help with settling their baby,” Ms Gagnon told Mamamia.
“This is normal. But what is not normal is how hard it can be for parents to access the support they need to help learn how to settle their baby,” she continued.
“A 24 hour hotline – quite literally someone to call in the middle of the night – will help many parents as they battle through those long, long nights.”
Premier Andrews is also offering a $7 million payroll tax exemption to employers to encourage them to allow workers to take extra parental leave.
“Early bonding with baby is critical to the wellbeing of a child and as a community we should be supporting dads and partners to spend as much time with their new baby as possible, developing a relationship with a child in their own right and supporting the baby’s primary carer in those first weeks,” Ms Gagnon added.
The Victorian state election will take place on Saturday, November 24.