Wednesday, 01 February 2017
Australia’s families know that the early childhood education and care system needs to be completely reformed.
When Parliament returns, the Turnbull Government will prioritise passing the savings to pay for our reforms that will give families relief from the out-of-pocket child care cost pressures they face and ensure more children have the opportunity to benefit from early education.
As the Turnbull Government works to make the system more affordable, flexible and accessible, my Parliamentary colleagues must recognise the 10 key reasons for passing our reforms:
1. Stopping incessant fee increases
Our rate cap will put downward pressure on child care fee increases and will provide families with a benchmark price so they have a reference point to hold providers accountable.
2. Immediate relief for families from hitting the rebate cap
Too many families hit the current $7,500 rebate cap too soon. Our reforms remove that cap altogether for families earning $185,710 or under. The cap will be increased to $10,000 for families earning more than that.
3. One million families will benefit
Official modelling and analysis shows that around one million families will benefit from our reforms. In fact, a working family on around $60,000 would pay only around $15 a day per child.
4. Targeting support to those who work the most and earn the least
We must help parents who want or need to work, or who want to work more, while still supporting early childhood education. Our three-step activity test aligns hours of subsidised care with the combined amount of work, training, study, volunteering or other recognised activity being undertaken by parents.
5. Increased workforce involvement for 230,000 families
We want families to choose their child care around their work, rather than limit their work hours to suit their child care. It is estimated our reforms will encourage more than 230,000 families to increase their involvement in paid employment.
6. Stronger compliance powers to stamp out rorting
We’ve already stopped more than $421 million of taxpayer money going out the door to rorters and shonks in the last year, and our reforms include a range of new compliance measures, including the power to pause childcare service applications for fee assistance. It means we can address excessive growth within a particular childcare service type and where there are concerns about proven or alleged rorting.
7. A safety net for children
The Child Care Safety Net in our reforms will ensure the most vulnerable children get a strong start in life by supporting services for kids from disadvantaged backgrounds or children with additional needs such as disability.
8. Support for many Indigenous families for the first time
We will be able to offer early education and care subsidies to many Indigenous families for the first time as we transition away from an inconsistent capped and closed system of support for certain services.
9. Offering more flexible hours of early education and care
We will slash red tape so services can be more flexible in the hours they deliver. It is unacceptable that families who routinely need and use only four, six or eight hours of care, are charged for 10 or 12 hours. Under our reforms, providers will have flexibility in the hours per day and days per week they must open, which is something many have long called for.
10. Support for new services
With the Community Child Care Fund in our reforms there will be a grants program for new and existing services, particularly in rural, regional or vulnerable communities, to reduce the barriers for families to access those services and to increase the supply of places in areas of high, unmet demand.
I call on Labor and my crossbench colleagues to work with us to pass these reforms and fix a system that is hurting families and taxpayers.