Doorstop interview – Labor’s Working Families Child Care Boost

Thursday, 08 October 2020

AMANDA RISHWORTH, SHADOW MINISTER FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT: Well tonight Labor leader Anthony Albanese announced a long-term plan to make child care more affordable in this country. We know that so many women and men find it difficult to get back into the workforce and work the hours they want because child care is just so unaffordable. It has been clear that the Liberal Government’s child care system has failed.

It’s failed Australian families with a fees going up more than 34 per cent. It is now time that we took long term action to support families immediately, but also a plan to move to a 90 per cent subsidy for every Australian family.

What Labor is proposing is Labor’s Working Families Childcare Boost. What this will do is it will ensure that some of the disincentives for women and men, the second income earner, to go back to work are removed. The cap will be removed, the taper rates will be more gradual and we will ensure that the subsidy is lifted for all families. Indeed 97 per cent of Australian families will be better off under Labor’s Child Care Boost and we will task the Productivity Commission to investigate how we move to a 90 per cent subsidy for every Australian family.

This is about ensuring that women can get back to work. This is ensuring that families don’t turn down work they get offered in the recovery because child care is too expensive. This is about families having more money left in their pockets so that they are able to afford the lifestyle that they need.

This is critical for Australian families, this is critical for the recovery, but importantly it is critical for the economy. Modelling has shown clearly, on very conservative estimates, that our GDP is dragged backwards as a result of women not fully participating in the workforce, and a simple answer to support women back to work is making child care more affordable, and ensuring that that we remove the disincentive for women working an extra day, an extra two days, or working full time.

JOURNALIST: What’s to stop child care centres pocketing the subsidy and increasing prices?

RISHWORTH: What we’ve announced is we will task the ACCC with investigating a mechanism of price regulation. We want to ensure that every single extra cent goes back to Australian families, and so we will make sure that is critical and sits alongside our policy to deliver more relief to Australian families.

JOURNALIST: So to clarify, Labor would cap the prices?

RISHWORTH: We would get the ACCC to investigate how we regulate the fees of child care.

JOURNALIST: The aim is to have 90 per cent subsidies for all child care. What ideal date would you like to have that in?

RISHWORTH: The Productivity Commission will report within a first term of a Labor government to look at how we would transition to a 90 per cent subsidy system. So the idea of Labor’s plan is an immediate boost to families, but we would like to see a transition to that after the three year boost.

ENDS

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