House debates

Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Statements by Members

Child Care

1:58 pm

Photo of Amanda RishworthAmanda Rishworth (Kingston, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education) Share this | Hansard source

Last Wednesday, the Treasurer confirmed that Australia is in a recession for the first time in 29 years. Australians are doing it tough. Millions have lost their jobs or had their hours or income cut as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown. Mortgage and rent payments have been deferred. People are surviving on JobKeeper and jobseeker. Today the government has announced it is allowing businesses to defer pay-as-you-go tax payments. Whole segments of the economy are still shut down, but the government seems to think this is the perfect time to snap back to high childcare fees. That's right—it's time to bring back some of the most expensive childcare fees in the world, fees that grew seven per cent in the last year and fees that have hiked 34 per cent under this coalition government. The Prime Minister was front and centre at the so-called 'free child care' announcement back in April, but he was nowhere to be seen on Monday. The Prime Minister sent out his education minister to deliver the news on a public holiday, not quite take-out-the-trash Friday, but not far off it. The news was: it's back to the high-fee system that Scott Morrison designed. Families will now be faced with having to pay high fees at a time they desperately want to go back to work, but they're going to have to decide whether it's worth it. The Prime Minister loves marketing slogans—JobKeeper, jobseeker, JobMaker, HomeBuilder—but the truth is: this policy to bring back high childcare fees in the middle of a recession will be a job crusher for women and a wallet smasher for families.

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