Wednesday, 22 August 2018
Questions without Notice
I thank Senator Gichuhi for her question and her continued interest in the wellbeing of so many Australian families who are reliant upon our childcare system. I am very pleased to say that around one million Australian families are benefiting as a result of the Turnbull government's work in investing in around $2½ billion extra into our childcare services to make sure that families are able to access child care without undue costs or undue barriers. Indeed, many Australian families are now making the decision to work an extra shift, to work an extra day, because they're getting more support out of the childcare subsidy. Many families are able to now plan their family budget and their working plans throughout the course of the year, knowing that they won't run out of childcare support midyear, as was the case under the old childcare rebate, where tens of thousands of families throughout the months of February, March, April, May and June would find that their childcare support was just cut off because it had been capped; whereas families earning less than around $186,000 a year find they have no cap under our new childcare subsidy arrangements.
Families have the opportunity—they have had cost-of-living pressures eased in the budget because of these changes, many to the tune, on average, of around $1,300 per child per annum. Think about an Australian family with a child in child care getting that additional benefit during the course of the year, coming on top of the extra tax benefit they receive from the Turnbull government's tax reforms, coming on top of the stronger economy that's making their jobs more secure. This is a circumstance where families can have the confidence that they absolutely have—additional financial support, additional financial means, additional capacity to be able to work the hours and days that suit them without childcare costs being an impediment.
We undertook these reforms because we know that child care is a significant cost for many Australian families. We went through a thorough process, getting the Productivity Commission to review and analyse the childcare system before then legislating for these reforms. Around one million Australian families are benefiting. From my home state, and Senator Gichuhi's home state, more than 60,000 families are estimated to be benefiting. From your home state of Victoria, Mr President, more than 200,000 families are estimated to be benefiting. In Queensland, nearly 200,000 families are expected to be benefiting. In New South Wales, nearly 300,000 families are benefiting from these reforms, in WA more than 70,000 families, and, in Tasmania, thousand again. All across our wonderful country, Australian families are receiving additional support, easing their cost-of-living pressures, empowering them to make work and family decisions that suit their personal family circumstances.
These reforms, carefully developed, the subject of years of analysis, came to this place clearly demonstrating benefits for around one million Australian families. Yet what did we see from those opposite or the Australian Greens? They voted against reforms that we estimate are making Australian families around $1,300 per child per annum better off. It's hard to believe they would have come in here and voted against that.
Senator Jacinta Collins interjecting—
It's hard to believe that Senator Collins with her colleagues sat there and voted against those 200,000 Victorian families, saying she didn't want them to be better off. It's hard to believe that other senators, those in Queensland, voted against 200,000 Queensland families being better off. Those in New South Wales voted against 300,000 New South Wales families being better off. You have to ask: what does the Australian Labor Party have against Australian families to have voted against reforms that have left so many so much better off? (Time expired)