Monday, 21 June 2021
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Education and Youth, Senator Reynolds. Could the minister update the Senate on how the childcare system in Australia is supporting women's participation in the workforce?
I thank Senator Hughes for the question and for her passion and commitment to the childcare sector. Supporting the economic security of women is a key and enduring priority for the Morrison government. This is why we are addressing the barriers to women's workforce participation through record childcare funding. This funding sees $10.3 billion being spent this year, including $9 billion to subsidise the fees set by childcare services.
In 2018, the Morrison government overhauled the childcare system to introduce one childcare subsidy, offering more support for families with lower incomes who needed it and also basing hours of subsidised care on family activity. Three years on, Australian families remain the beneficiaries of this government's childcare policies. In this year's budget, we went further. We announced an additional $1.7 billion to further help Australian families with more than one child aged five or under in those years that are the toughest on the hip pocket for families. By increasing the subsidy for families with a second or third child aged five or under, 250,000 Australian families will be better off.
This support will assist second-income earners in a family, often women, who want to return to work and work additional hours. Women's workforce participation has reached a record high of 61.8 per cent under our government, and that is something that we are incredibly proud of. We continue to put in place measures to support women who choose to work or to work more hours in the workforce.
Thank you, again, Senator Hughes. This one budget measure alone will support around 250,000 Australian families each and every year, and these are the families who need it the most. These families will benefit by up to $183 per week for their second child and any further child in the family under five who is also in care. This means that these families will be better off by $2,260 per year. That is a great outcome for these families. We're also removing the annual cap on subsidies of $10,560 a year, which currently only applies to families earning over $189,390. This measure will benefit around 18,000 families and mean no family will have an annual cap on their childcare subsidies. (Time expired)
Thank you, again, for the question. Today over 280,000 more children are in child care, and women's workforce participation has reached a record high, as I said, of 61.8 per cent in March this year, which is up from 58.7 per cent when Labor last left office. Let's never forget, when Labor were in government, fees went up 53 per cent, including a one-year spike of 14.5 per cent. Now, under Labor's so-called universal child care, a family earning a half a million dollars would receive $50,000 of taxpayer money for two children in full-time child care. This universal child care means they really don't care if parents are working to be eligible and they don't really have faith in parents actually deciding what is right for their families. Again, under this government— (Time expired)