Wednesday, 28 October 2020
Senate Estimates has confirmed what we already know – the Morrison Government is all spin and no substance when it comes to child care.
Spin: Earlier this month the Minister for Education crowed that the Morrison Government’s child care plan has worked and has kept fees down.
Fact: In Estimates the Department predicted fees will increase by 5.3 per cent in 2020/21, and it was confirmed that child care fee increases have been outstripping CPI, eroding the value of the subsidy.
Spin: Last week the Minister for Education claimed the Government’s child care system is doing wonders for women’s workforce participation.
Fact: The Small Business Ombudsman Kate Carnell told Estimates that child care costs are holding women back from working full time and growing small businesses.
Spin: Last week Sussan Ley said “we had a Productivity Commission review, we took the advice of the Productivity Commission and we implemented the recommendations through the parliamentary process”.
Fact: It was confirmed in Estimates that the Productivity Commission recommended the child care subsidy apply to all working families, and that it did not recommend the annual subsidy cap that is built into Scott Morrison’s child care system.
Spin: Last week the Minister bragged that it is providing “record funding for child care”.
Fact: The Department admitted in Estimates today the increase in funding this year is mostly due to higher prices and lower wages for families allowing them to claim a higher subsidy.
Spin: Following this year’s Budget, the Morrison Government said it would run an unofficial six month awareness campaign on the benefits of early learning before making reforms in next year’s Budget.
Fact: It was confirmed in Estimates that there is no money or plan for such a campaign and Senator Birmingham said there were no plans for any reforms.
Spin: When the Government’s new system was introduced, then Education Minister Simon Birmingham said the Government was prepared to name and shame centres that hiked fees.
Fact: It was confirmed in Estimates that neither the Government nor the Department have named or shamed a single centre in two years. There has been no public accountability for exorbitant fee increases.
The fact is the Morrison Government’s child care system has failed Australian families. It has failed to keep a lid on out of pocket costs, and it has failed to support working parents, particularly women, to work full time or increase their hours.
Labor will fix that with our plan for affordable child care.