Labor to improve transparency in early learning sector

Thursday, 24 June 2021

ANTHONY ALBANESE
LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY
MEMBER FOR GRAYNDLER

AMANDA RISHWORTH
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT
SHADOW MINISTER FOR YOUTH
MEMBER FOR KINGSTON

 

An Albanese Labor Government will improve transparency in the child care sector for Australian families and taxpayers, building on Labor’s Cheaper Child Care for Working Families policy.

The Commonwealth will spend around $9 billion on the Child Care Subsidy this year, yet there is very little oversight or public reporting of how this taxpayer money is spent.

While not-for-profit providers are already required to report to the National Charities Commission, large for-profit providers, particularly those owned by private equity, do not have the same accountability.

Part of the Morrison Government’s failed child care changes in 2018 was the introduction of www.childcarefinder.gov.au. The website does not provide real-time child care fee and quality data and some providers do not display any fee information at all.

Australian families need improved transparency around what is driving their fee increases and the ability to easily and accurately compare providers in order to make an informed decision.

The lack of oversight of the sector has also allowed for the practice of non-educational enrolment inducements, with some for-profit providers offering incentives such as cash or iPads to entice families to enrol at their centres. These marketing gimmicks are being funded by taxpayers and are an inappropriate use of government support.

Child care fees are out of control under the Morrison Government, having soared by 37 per cent since the election of the Coalition. Increased transparency about cost drivers and profits is necessary to stop this trend and put downward pressure on fees.

That is why an Albanese Labor Government will:

  • Require large child care providers (more than 25 services as defined by ACECQA) and landlords owning more than 10 child care centres to publicly report their child care revenue and profit results to www.childcarefinder.gov.au;
  • Mandate that www.childcarefinder.gov.au includes every Child Care Subsidy approved provider, real-time child care fee data and quality ratings and average year on year fee increases so parents can make an informed choice; and
  • Ban providers from offering non-educational enrolment inducements.

This policy builds on Labor’s Cheaper Child Care for Working Families plan, in particular our commitment for the ACCC to investigate price regulation to ensure all benefit goes into the pockets of families.

Labor’s plan for cheaper child care will deliver an additional $6 billion investment in the sector, which will leave 97 per cent of families in the system better off.

We want to ensure this additional support flows through to families, which is why we want a stronger focus on transparency.

Only Labor is committed to genuine, enduring reform of the child care sector that brings costs down for families and keeps them down.

The Morrison Government’s half-hearted child care policy falls lightyears short of what is required to properly reform the system and includes nothing to keep fees down.

This Government’s poor attitude towards child care has been on display this week, with members of the Coalition party room labelling it outsourced parenting.

The difference could not be more stark – Labor is committed to ensuring every Australian child deserves access to affordable and high quality early learning.

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