House debates

Wednesday, 23 November 2022

Questions without Notice

Child Care

2:09 pm

Photo of Kate ThwaitesKate Thwaites (Jagajaga, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Prime Minister. How will the government's cheaper child care legislation help Australian families?

2:10 pm

Photo of Anthony AlbaneseAnthony Albanese (Grayndler, Australian Labor Party, Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for her question. Indeed, I join with the minister in declaring this a great day that the parliament has passed our childcare reforms. This is a commitment that I gave, when the budget replies had major policies as their centrepiece, and this was the centrepiece of the first budget reply that I had the honour to give on behalf of this side of the House.

Childcare reform is economic reform. It boosts productivity. It boosts workforce participation. But it is also positive for our youngest Australians. In recent weeks I've had the opportunity to visit childcare centres across the country: the Avenue Children's Centre and Kindergarten in Balaklava, in the member for Macnamara's seat in Melbourne; Goodstart Early Learning in Somerton Park, in South Australia; Baringa Childcare Centre in Queensland; Goodstart Early Learning in Kalamunda, in Western Australia; and Crestwood World of Learning in Queanbeyan, near the ACT.

Everywhere I've been, we have had positive feedback from the early learning educators as well as from parents. This is what Louise, president of the Avenue Children's Centre, said about where her son, Jack, goes: 'As a working mum, the cheaper child care bill is a really welcome change. Anything that assists our family budget is very much appreciated. I think not only of my family but of how this legislation will benefit across our society, especially for other working women. It's a really progressive move and a long time coming.'

I pay tribute to Georgie Dent for her work from the Parenthood. She welcomed me into her home to meet with parents who needed the government to act. She told me, regarding her daughter, 'We were spending more on early childhood care than we were spending on rent at the time.' Another mother who was there, Deline Jacovides, said: 'At the moment our kids are doing two days at one centre and two days at another. The cost is well above a mortgage. I'm really passionate about this. As a financial adviser, I know that childcare costs directly impact women.'

So many parents who you meet around the country say they're relieved when their child reaches the age of five and goes to school, because all of a sudden their family income is much better off because they're not paying childcare fees. Why is it that in this country we think there is a difference between a three-year-old, a four-year-old and a five-year-old in terms of the family budget? This a practical move which will be followed by the Productivity Commission having a look at the universality of childcare provision being made affordable across the board, which would be the logical next step of what's an important reform for this country.