Time with dad from the start

Muthi Muthi man Jack Bulman is the current CEO of Mibbinbah, an Indigenous male health promotion charity. Mibbinbah incorporates Aboriginal cultural knowledge to deliver training and development opportunities, with the aim of empowering and building capacity of male participants and their communities across Australia. Jack strongly supports the introduction of Dad and Partner Pay, a new entitlement under the Australian Government’s Paid Parental Leave scheme. Dad and Partner Pay gives eligible working dads or partners (including adopting parents or same-sex partners) two weeks pay at the rate of the National Minimum Wage (currently about $606 a week before tax) to take time off work to bond with their baby, support their partner, and give their baby the best start in life.

Jack explains that “Mibbinbah takes a holistic approach to the men we work with, encompassing the individual and their life experiences”.

“A lot of the men who participate in our programs are dads, or expectant fathers; Dad and Partner Pay is extremely beneficial to eligible dads and partners to allow them to bond with their babies early on. A key issue that comes up a lot with our participants is the fact that their fathers or male role models weren’t around when they were growing up. Dad and Partner pay is a key opportunity that could break this negative cycle in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and their families long term”.

Dad and Partner Pay is available to eligible working dads caring for a newborn or recently adopted child from 1 January 2013. Full-time, part-time, casual, seasonal, contract and self- employed workers may be eligible, including those working in a family business.

“As a charitable organisation we have strong links to the communities we work with,” Jack says. “Mibbinbah capitalises on these links and will be encouraging our men to promote the importance of spending time with their newborn babies and to find out more about Dad and Partner Pay. We are distributing information about Dad and Partner Pay to our partner organisations, other relevant bodies and through our website and Facebook page.”

Jack explains that it’s important for children to have a positive male role model around. “It’s absolutely crucial for our lads to be standing up for themselves and their families. Our workshops have had a big focus around trying to get dads to help out in raising their children and taking a more active role in the family. With the assistance of Dad and Partner Pay, this can become more of a reality.”

Jack feels there is a lot that can be done to support and promote Dad and Partner Pay. Mibbinbah will be represented at the Indigenous men’s health convention in Brisbane where a lot of the participants will be fathers. Jack will be promoting Dad and Partner Pay at the convention as he believes the new entitlement for working dads ‘…can make a huge difference to how a lot of fellas live, it can benefit families and the whole community.”

For more information and to find out if you are eligible please visit http://www.australia.gov.au/dadandpartnerpay. Alternatively, you can call the parents hotline 136 150 or the Indigenous hotline 136 380.

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