Wednesday, 10 June 2020
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister said, on Friday:
The six months provision of JobKeeper has been set out in legislation and people can count on that.
Why did the Prime Minister break his promise three days later by cutting JobKeeper support for 120,000 early-childhood educators?
The JobKeeper legislation does remain in place until the end of September. But, where there is a better way to do things, we won't step aside from doing them in a better way. As the member would know, with the arrangement that we arrived at—
Ms O'Neil interjecting—
when we put the new arrangements for child care in place during the worst parts of this crisis, we were very clear that that would not be a permanent arrangement, that it would be a temporary arrangement and that we would be moving back to the usual arrangements for child care—
Ms O'Neil interjecting—
that, I stress, provide an 85 per cent rebate with no caps on those rebates, and for those who are on jobseeker there's a 95 per cent rebate for child care—a program that this government reformed and ensured that people on lower incomes were getting bigger rebates. But the advice, as we worked closely with the childcare sector, was that when we move back, at their encouragement, to the usual system, to ensure that the demand can be accommodated in the childcare sector, the preference was that we move to a sustainment subsidy of 25 per cent of their fee base, rather than the continuation of the JobKeeper arrangement. That was seen as a better way of supporting more jobs and supporting the management and meeting of demand in the childcare sector. And I can only quote the Childcare Alliance, which said:
This Transition Payment is designed to deliver a more equitable outcome across all learning service providers … This Transition Payment ensures the survival of service providers as we navigate through a period of economic uncertainty … It also means that service providers can operate at their full capacity, offering the vital placement that their families need.
That is from the Australian Child Care Alliance. We have been working through the sector. We said very plainly that the temporary arrangements would not be permanent and, as we're moving back and getting the Australian economy back on its feet, moving ahead on that road forward, we will continue to provide the support that these sectors need and, where we can do better than the arrangements that we have in place, then we will certainly act in concert with the sectors to ensure we can provide that support. I'm not sure whether the Labor Party would prefer us to have a lesser arrangement, something that would provide less job security. We sought and have received an employment guarantee as a result of providing those transition payments to the childcare sector. It means that employees working across the childcare sector are supported by that employment guarantee. The service providers are supported by the transition payment and there are more places now available for those seeking child care across the country.