Monday, 05 August 2019
THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION AND TRAINING
ACTING SHADOW MINISTER FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
Over the weekend the Morrison Government quietly released both the latest child care statistics report and the first independent evaluation report of the Liberals’ new child care system.
It’s not hard to see why they were hoping to bury this information.
The reports blow a large hole in the Liberals’ spin about their new child care system.
The new system will “help put downward pressure on fee increases.”
Liberal education minister, 1 July 2018
Fact – fees for long day care increased 4.8 per cent between December 2017 and December 2018 and fees have increased 28 per cent since the Liberals were elected.
Fact – 73 per cent of families told the evaluation report their fees had gone up or not changed (p.86, evaluation report).
“We will be monitoring fee increases by centres and we won’t be shy about seeking explanations or, if need be, naming and shaming centres doing the wrong thing.”
Liberal Education Minister, 28 June 2018
Fact – they aren’t.
“It’s inevitable that some teething issues will arise.”
Liberal Education Minister, 27 July 2018
Fact – less than half of providers felt the Government provided enough support for the transition and only 40 per cent of services and 41 per cent of families felt the changes were positive (pp. 62, 68 and 90 evaluation report).
One of the key goals of the new system is to “make re-joining the workforce or being able to pick up more work that bit easier by offering a child care system that is more affordable and flexible for more families”
Liberal Education Minister, 1 July 2018
Fact – 83 per cent of parents in the evaluation say the changes have made no impact on their work or study (p. 89 evaluation report).
“My message to Australians first and foremost [is] take the steps to register and, secondly, if you’re having any difficulties, pick up the phone to ensure you get the help needed to make it as smooth a process as possible.”
Liberal Education Minister, 12 June 2018
Fact – 63 per cent of parents reported they did not understand at all, or have much understanding of, elements of the new system and parents told the report “I called (Centrelink) more than 20 times” (p. 83 and 84 evaluation report).
The Liberals said a $1.2bn safety net for children from vulnerable backgrounds would ensure they did not miss out on child care.
Liberal Education Minister, 2 July 2018
Fact – “Many services have raised a concern about the potential impact of the activity test in reducing access to child care for children from disadvantaged backgrounds” (p.94 evaluation report).
These are facts the Liberals cannot ignore.
They introduced a new system that is complex, unfair, and that restricts access to early learning. Fees keep going up, early educators are underpaid and undervalued by the Government, and providers are drowning in red tape.
It’s time for the Liberals to cut the spin and deliver a quality and affordable system that works for all Australian families.