Govt's Childcare Policies Fail WomenSpeech
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 increases in my electorate ranged from 4½ per cent to 21½ per cent. At a 21½ per cent yearly increase, the cost of child care would double every 3½ years. Child care costs so much that 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. They bank less superannuation. They are more vulnerable to homelessness and insecurity in their later years. They can also lose confidence in their skills and connection with their network.
This is the exact opposite of what we want for women. I've been through this myself and I understand just how frustrating it is. It's not good enough and it needs to change.
Under Labor's plan, announced by the Leader of the Opposition, more Aussie kids will be in child care, more women will choose to undertake more work, and, importantly, 97 per cent of all families will save up to $2,900 a year. No family will be worse off. This will be good news for my electorate, because when I visit childcare centres and speak to young families in Corangamite they tell me the cost of child care is exorbitant.
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 would earn working in aged care. This is the exact opposite of what we want for Pawandeep and for all women.
The Morrison government's childcare policy undervalues women. It fails to support them. 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 the plan.
Last week, 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 day's 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 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. Economists in Corangamite are calling for this reform. Business owners in Corangamite are calling for this reform. Women and families in Corangamite are calling for this reform. Families should be able to afford childcare for their kids, and women should be given the opportunities they deserve to strive and reach their potential.
It's as simple as that, so let's make it happen