House debates

Thursday, 23 March 2023

Constituency Statements

Child Care

9:39 am

Photo of Tim WattsTim Watts (Gellibrand, Australian Labor Party, Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs) Share this | Hansard source

Child care will get cheaper for 1.2 million Australians in just 100 days time, thanks to the Albanese government. We know that Australians are under the pump from cost-of-living pressures, and we are taking action to help reduce the load. As a parent, I know how important the first five years of a child's life are in their development and in their long-term mental and physical wellbeing. The Albanese government was elected on a platform of delivering cheaper child care to fix the broken childcare system left by the former government. Under the former government's watch, childcare costs in Australia increased by 41 per cent over eight years. We are fixing the mess that they have left us. We've passed legislation to make child care cheaper for 1.2 million families starting from 1 July this year. We've invested $4.5 billion to give Australian children the best start to life and to allow parents, particularly women, the ability to return to work as soon as they are comfortable. We've lifted the maximum childcare subsidy rate to 90 per cent for families earning $80,000 or less. We've increased the subsidy rate for around 96 per cent of families earning under $530,000 with a child in child care. As a result, a family on the median combined income of $120,000 with one child in early childhood education will save around $1,780 a year.

The Treasurer, Jim Chalmers, has also asked the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to investigate the factors impacting the supply and cost of childcare services. The ACCC will deliver their final report by the end of 2023.

To see the impact of the Albanese government's action to make child care cheaper for 1.2 million Australians, I recently visited the Goodstart childcare facility in Point Cook. I toured the facilities and saw firsthand how proper investment in early childhood set up our children for a brighter future. But the staff at Goodstart also told me about the challenges that they're facing, including the trouble of attracting and retaining good quality childcare workers due to intense competition with other centres and the need to improve the quality of education and training for future childcare staff to deliver the best outcome for Australian kids.

We know that over 10,000 families in my electorate currently receive a childcare subsidy. Our increase in the childcare subsidy will benefit the vast majority of these families, which will, in turn, improve the prospects and happiness of these kids and their parents. The children in Melbourne's west have the potential to achieve great things, from becoming doctors or successful business owners to political leaders like Julia Gillard or, hopefully, premiership winning Western Bulldogs players. With our investment in child care, the Albanese government is giving the children of Melbourne's west every opportunity to reach their full potential in life, whatever they choose to do. I would like to thank Goodstart's fantastic staff who showed me around their facilities, including Melissa, Jo-Ann, Manpreet and Makayla. I would also like to thank the Goodstart students, who presented me with a beautiful piece of artwork. Thanks, kids.


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