MINISTER MORRISON: The Government has a plan to provide support for disadvantaged families and working families through affordable and accessible and quality child care. The Government has a funded plan to commit $3.5 billion in extra support for disadvantaged and working families through our child care package. This is a strong plan, it is a plan that has been the product of many many months of consultations and it is a funded plan. The Opposition has no plan at all just cheap criticism – which is no surprise. We will get on with our Jobs for Families package which will give choice for families to be in work and for disadvantaged families to get the support that they need through the child care system and with early childhood education.
QUESTION: Is the Government considering scrapping the priority of access policy?
MINISTER MORRISON: The Government’s priority is for families in work and to get them in work and for disadvantaged families through our Child Care Safety Net. They’re our priorities, they have always been our priorities, that is why we have a funded plan to put $3.5 billion extra to support those priorities and that is what we will be doing.
QUESTION: This proposal would have gone at some stage before Cabinet, was it at all discussed in Cabinet or was it something that you have considered as part of your role as Minister?
MINISTER MORRISON: These are the details that we’re now working on in consultation with the sector and families as we work to implement the decisions that were previously taken by Cabinet which did not go to this level of detail. This level of detail is the normal process where you go out and consult on the implementation plan and that is exactly what we are doing. What we have seen from Labor today is just another distraction from the revelations before the Royal Commission which showed that union members couldn’t trust Bill Shorten when he was a union leader so how can the Australian people trust him now when he is pretending that he wants to be Prime Minister. The Labor Party is embarrassed by the revelations in the Royal Commission that Bill Shorten just simply can’t be trusted, whether it is by the union members who relied on him or anyone else.
QUESTION: There are suggestions that there are things such as random spot checks being contemplated is that something that may go ahead?
MINISTER MORRISON: Well the Government wants to make sure that the plans and programmes we put in place for child care are enforced. We want to ensure that the programme and the support is there, particularly for working families and for those who are disadvantaged. We want to make sure that the regulations that we have to support those objectives can be implemented and can be overseen and can be checked. So it is important for the integrity of the scheme that we have a proper programme to ensure that the rules are adhered to. What this is about is ensuring working families and disadvantaged families are getting the child care support they need that is affordable, that is accessible and that is of very good quality. That is what we will be delivering through our funded package. The Opposition has no plan at all, no funded plan, no plan, just kicking the can down the road like they did when they were in government.
QUESTION: Why would something like this be in a discussion paper and a regulatory impact statement if it wasn’t being considered?
MINISTER MORRISON: Well what the regulatory impact statement is trying to do is find the best way to ensure that we focus this programme on those who we want to focus it on most and that is working families and disadvantaged families. We have designed the entire Jobs for Families programme to give support to those families who are trying to work more, who need to be in work more so they can get the affordable, quality, accessible child care that they need. We have also designed it to ensure there is a strong safety net for disadvantaged families, whether they are Indigenous communities which are needing that support or those on very low incomes or those where there are child protection issues that need to be addressed. So this regulatory impact statement is about consulting with the community, with the sector, to ensure we have the best set of regulations to support our objective to give quality, affordable, accessible child care to families particularly those who are working and those who are disadvantaged.
QUESTION: A third of the way into the break, finally how are the negotiations coming along when it comes to some of those crossbench Senators on these issues?
MINISTER MORRISON: Well we have very strong support I think across the crossbench and more broadly in the community for the direction and for the package of reforms we are putting forward for child care. Where we will continue to have to work hard is how that additional investment of $3.5 billion is funded. The government does not want to increase taxes or increase the deficit and the debt on Australians to pay for this $3.5 billion investment in improved and affordable and quality child care for working families and disadvantaged families. We want to be able to pay for that by making sure we have the savings in the Budget to deliver that. Now the Labor Party and the Greens and some others have a different view. Now it is our view that you have to pay for your promises and that is what we are doing and we will continue those very, I think, respectful and fruitful and engaging discussions with the crossbench on those issues.
QUESTION: Thank you.
MINISTER MORRISON: Ok good, thank you.