Tuesday, 27 November 2018
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for Education. Will the minister update the House on how a strong economy helps the government deliver the quality child care and education that young Australians rely on, including in my electorate of Dunkley? Is the minister aware of any alternative schemes that would threaten these essential services?
I'd like to thank the member for Dunkley for his question. I know that he has a passionate commitment to young people in his electorate.
It is an important question, this question, because the government is delivering for young Australians with record funding for child care; record funding for state schools, for Catholic schools, for independent schools; and record funding for universities. But there's an important point to make here as well. Our young Australians and their families of course don't just deserve record funding; they deserve a government that is focused on delivering outcomes for them and their future. And that is exactly what our government is doing. Under the new childcare package, we're providing more access to subsidised child care to families who work the most, and more financial support to families who earn the least.
Around one million Australian families who are balancing work and parental responsibilities are benefitting from these reforms—the most significant reforms to child care in 40 years. Importantly, our new childcare subsidy has driven down the out-of-pocket costs for parents around Australia and—I know you'll be very pleased to hear this, Prime Minister—in the ABS's December CPI data we saw an 11.8 per cent decrease in out-of-pocket childcare costs. By contrast, childcare fees increased by 53 per cent under the previous Labor government.
When it comes to schools, the coalition government is providing a record $309.6 billion in recurrent funding to all Australian schools over the period 2018 to 2029, which represents, as the Prime Minister said earlier, a $37.6 billion increase in funding. Now what would put all this at threat? It would be an opposition that has a program of big taxes and big spending—something that would choke the Australian economy, something that would reduce tax receipts, something that would saddle young Australians with future debt. What the Australian people have to understand is that those opposite have a radical agenda to change everything, including when it comes to the Australian economy, and this will put at threat the future of young Australians when it comes to child care, schools and university.