Monday, 9 November 2020
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Prime Minister. In Senate estimates, the department of education said that it expected childcare fees to increase by 5.3 per cent this financial year. Why will families face a further increase in childcare fees in the middle of a recession when wages are flatlining?
I thank the member for her question. It's a very important question because the Morrison government is investing in the childcare sector. Not only is it investing in the childcare sector through the reforms that we introduced two years ago but it is driving down pressure on fees and pressure on parents' out-of-pocket expenses. Let's go to Senate estimates and look at what the department said. Out-of-pocket expenses are 3.2 per cent lower than what they were two years ago when our reforms were introduced. That is what the department said: 3.2 per cent lower than what they were two years ago when our reforms were introduced. Not only that, we are continuing to invest in the childcare sector, and our investment goes up from $9 billion this year to over $10 billion over the forward estimates.
I'll tell you what we won't be doing on this side—because we don't hear much about it from those opposite. We still don't know what their policy is when it comes to the childcare wage subsidy—
Mr Albanese interjecting—
And the Leader of the Opposition laughs! Let me remind you what Bob Carr had to say about it: 'One policy was simply bad. A government subsidy for'—
It was a very specific question about one issue: the 5.3 per cent increase in childcare fees, which is what the minister's department said would happen this coming year—nothing else. I'm not quite sure how Bob Carr comes into anything, to be frank.
I call the minister. The Leader of the Opposition has made his point. I'll call the minister again. This question did not ask for alternative policies. So, no matter how much he might like to talk about them, he can't in this answer. The minister has the call.
For instance, what they said over the decade when that number was quoted was that in the last couple of years it's actually underneath that, so underneath what the cost hikes were by those opposite. Not only that he has failed to go to the final point, which is that 3.2 per cent out-of-pocket expenses have come down in the two years since those reforms have been in place. So why did you leave off that part of the statement by the deputy secretary, Ros Baxter, in Senate estimates? Because it did not suit your argument. You will not comprehend or understand that they've been in place for two years and have led to 3.2 per cent reduction in out-of-pocket expenses. If you're being honest, you should have quoted the full statement.
Mr Rob Mitchell interjecting—