Thursday, 8 October 2020
Matters of Public Importance
The Morrison government supports working families and always will. Our childcare system is world class. It is cost-effective and efficient. The coalition government has a genuine commitment to supporting families. Labor only talks about it.
This year has, of course, been filled with challenges. Even in some of the toughest economic and social conditions faced by Australians, the coalition delivers. We have delivered record investment in this sector while making sure support is delivered efficiently. This financial year the Morrison government has delivered a record $9.2 billion in child care. This will grow to $10.7 billion over the coming years. I am proud to be part of a government that is supporting families.
One million families around Australia are being supported with access to affordable, quality childcare services. Families are also benefiting from the Morrison government's recent budget. Families will benefit from income tax relief, with low- and middle-income earners receiving tax relief of up to $2,745 for singles and up to $5,490 for dual-income families. This tax relief puts cash back into the pockets of families. The Morrison government knows that families deserve to keep more of what they make. We are delivering record investment but we are also delivering it with record efficiency. Our childcare system is working well because in 2018 we introduced once-in-a-generation reforms which saw out-of-pocket costs fall. Two years after these reforms, costs to families remain 3.2 per cent lower than under previous childcare packages. Our support is targeted. As the government, we ensure that those who need the support get the support. The benefits are clear: women's workforce participation has increased under our childcare package. I'm sure everyone in this chamber, including Labor, can agree that this is a good thing.
We know that the childcare industry was hit hard by the pandemic. Childcare enrolments were on a downward spiral and the sector was on the brink of collapse. It was the Morrison government that acted swiftly and effectively. The government provided a lifeline to childcare businesses by injecting the industry with a $1.9 billion recovery package and provided free child care to families. This kept childcare businesses afloat and supported those families that were struggling to afford child care. This funding kept 99 per cent of childcare services open and viable. The recovery package was followed by an additional $708 million transition package, with the return of childcare subsidies supporting services to provide care and wages for employees and supporting families with fee freezes and the relaxing of the activity test. It was another show of support to both families and child care by the Morrison government.
In some of Australia's most uncertain times, as a government—