Child Care FeesSpeech
I stand to support this motion because child care costs too much, and according to the Department of Education fees are set to increase even further, by 5.3 per cent next year.
I commend the member for Macquarie for moving this motion. Put simply, child care costs us all too much. It costs women too much, it costs families too much and it costs our nation too much. In the 12 months to March, my electorate saw childcare costs rise substantially. The increase in my electorate ranged from 4.5 per cent to 21.5 per cent. At a 21.5 per cent yearly increase, the cost of child care would double every three and a half years.
Child care costs so much that many, many parents are forced to work less. Instead of working full-time, a parent, generally the mother, will work only three days or not work at all because the cost of full-time child care is just too great. The consequences of this are significant for our economy, for our productivity and for the health and wellbeing of families, women and children. Kids lose out on their development when their entire education is set back at the first formal step. The economy loses out because the pool of workers is reduced, driving down incomes and consumption. And women lose out, as they bank less superannuation and they're more vulnerable to homelessness and insecurity in their later years. They also can lose confidence in their skills and connection with their network. This is the exact opposite of what we want for women. I have been through it myself and I understand just how frustrating it is. It is not good enough and it needs to change.
Under Labor's plan, announced by the Leader of the Opposition on 8 October, more Aussie kids will be in child care, more women will chose to undertake more work and, importantly, 97 per cent of all families will save up to $2,900 a year—and no family will be worse off. This will be good news for my electorate. When I visit childcare centres and speak to young families in Corangamite, they tell me that the cost of child care is exorbitant and limiting and unfairly impacts on women. I recently spoke to Grovedale mum Pawandeep Gill. She wants her young girl to experience the benefits of an early childhood education but, under the current model, the childcare costs that come with working another day a week greatly outweigh what she will earn in aged care. This is the exact opposite of what we want for Pawandeep and for all women. Unlike those opposite, we want women to achieve their potential. Pawandeep should be allowed to choose. All families in Corangamite and Australia should be allowed to choose.
So let's be constructive. We can fix this, and Labor has a plan. Labor announced that an Albanese government would introduce the working family childcare boost to cut childcare fees and put more money in the pockets of working families straightaway. Childcare fees in Australia are some of the highest in the world. Under this plan, Labor will scrap the $10,560 childcare subsidy cap which often sees women losing money from an extra days work, fix the maximum childcare subsidy rate to 90 per cent and increase childcare subsidy rates and taper them for every family earning less than half a million dollars a year. This means that 97 per cent of all families will save between $600 and $2,900 a year.
Under Labor's system, many primary carers across my electorate will choose to work more, and the local economy will benefit by tens of millions of dollars every year as a result. As KPMG points out, increased investment in early education and child care would boost our gross economic domestic product by between $4 billion and $11 billion through increased workforce participation. In contrast, the Morrison government's broken childcare subsidy system has failed to keep a lid on the costs. Economists in Corangamite are calling for this reform. Business owners in Corangamite are calling for this reform. Women and children and families in Corangamite are calling for this reform. So I stand with the member for Macquarie and call on the Morrison government to fix its broken childcare subsidy system. Families should be able to afford child care for their kids, and women should be given the opportunities they deserve, to strive and reach their potential. It makes absolute sense—so let's make it happen.Share Tweet