Tuesday, 8 September 2009
Questions without Notice
Mark Arbib (NSW, Australian Labor Party, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Government Service Delivery) Share this | Hansard source
The government has an ambitious reform agenda and it is focused on improving the affordability, access and quality of early education and care in Australia. That is something which I think every senator in this chamber should support. We have backed this agenda with $16 billion in funding for early childhood education and child care over the next four years. That is more than $1 billion a year more than the previous government.
In relation to affordability, we have delivered on our election commitment to pay half of the out-of-pocket childcare costs of Australian families by increasing the childcare rebate from 30 per cent to 50 per cent. This has dramatically improved affordability, with recent ABS statistics showing childcare costs for parents have fallen by almost 20 per cent over the past year. This is in stark contrast to the 13 per cent increase in the last year of the Howard government.
Raising the quality of early childhood education and care is the next critical step in delivering on our reform agenda. There has been a great deal of misinformation put forward about the agenda, but we have worked cooperatively with the sector—(Time expired)