House debates

Thursday, 12 November 2020

Questions without Notice

Child Care

2:52 pm

Photo of Amanda RishworthAmanda Rishworth (Kingston, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Prime Minister. Imogene, from Sandringham in the member of Goldstein's electorate, is a part-time management consultant with two children, and her family is not eligible for the childcare rebate. Imogene loves her job and wants to work full-time but says it would cost her family $6,000 a month to put her kids in child care five days a week, which makes little sense. Why is this Prime Minister holding Australian women back from working the fourth or fifth day in a week?

Photo of Dan TehanDan Tehan (Wannon, Liberal Party, Minister for Education) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for her question, and I remind the member that the government is providing record funding to the childcare sector: $9.2 billion this year, which will grow into $10 billion into the coming years. Once again—and I'm sure I say this on behalf of all members of the House—I thank all those people who work in the early childhood and care sector for the extraordinary job that they've done in providing care throughout this pandemic. As a matter of fact, by working with the government, the sector has been able to ensure that 99 per cent of providers have remained open right throughout the pandemic and been able to provide that essential care, especially for those essential service workers and those vulnerable children who we wanted to make sure were protected throughout the pandemic.

When it comes to our policy, what has it done for families? What it has done is see a 3.2 per cent reduction in out-of-pocket costs for parents, and it means around one million Australian families who are balancing work and parental responsibilities are benefiting from our package. Seventy-one point four per cent pay no more than $5 per hour in day-care centres, and, within a subset, 24 per cent pay no more than $2 an hour. Our approach is targeted. It's about benefiting those who earn the least. It's about encouraging and incentivising people to get into work and, if they're not in work, to look at ways to train, to volunteer and to undertake activities which will help them get into work. That's what our policy will do.

What we haven't done is put in place a policy where, if you earn $1 million, have two children in centre based care for 30 hours a week, currently receive nothing and do not one extra minute of work, you would receive $561.60 per week. If you earn $1 million, you would receive $28,000 a year for not doing one extra minute of work.

I'm not quite sure; we obviously haven't seen the costings of their policy and we don't know whether that's eventually what they will go ahead with—it's a mystery. But we will continue to provide support for those who need it the most.