Media Release by The Hon Mal Brough MP

Childcare Places and the Childcare Access Hotline

Figures provided from the Childcare Access Hotline show that there are between 97,000 and 120,000 childcare vacancies depending on the day of the week across Australia.

Federal Families Minister Mal Brough said the improved Childcare Access Hotline had been collecting vacancy data since July 1 in order to provide a more responsive service to parents.

"The Childcare Access Hotline was established by the Howard Government to provide childcare information to help parents with their childcare choices."

"The Hotline has provided a range of information about local services, types of childcare and Government funded assistance. Since July we have expanded the service to provide parents with more information about services that have vacancies that might meet their childcare needs."

Mr Brough said there will be further improvements to the system to collect more detailed vacancy information including whether any vacancies available are for babies.

"The data at national and state level is the most reliable data that has ever been available about the sector and debunks Labor’s claims that there are widespread shortages."

"We have always believed that there was a considerable number of available places but that from time to time, there would be some localised areas of demand. This data supports that view and as the system improves over time we aim to monitor those trends."

"In the Budget we announced the intention to develop a new National Child Care Management System to track childcare supply and ensure that every dollar of taxpayer assistance provides parents with quality childcare places."

"When that system is complete we will publish detailed market data so that providers have much better information than they currently have."

The Childcare Access Hotline number for parents seeking care information is 1800 670 305

Table (Vacancies By State) and Childcare Facts Attached

Some Basic Childcare Facts

  • The Howard Government has doubled the number of places from 300,000 under Labor to 600,000 and invests a massive $10 billion over four years to support parent’s childcare choices.
  • Since the recent Budget, 99% of the sector is now uncapped and can provide funded places where and when parents need them.
  • The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report, Trends in Affordability of Child Care Services, said that even before families received the Child Care Tax Rebate they were better off in terms of cost under the Howard Government than Labor because the proportion of income spent on out of pocket child care costs is lower than 10 years ago.
  • A recent OECD report showed that the Australian Government provides higher levels of subsidy for parents childcare costs than comparable countries.
  • Labor’s record on childcare is appalling:
    • Women were lucky to get a job with high unemployment under Labor and there were half the number of funded child care places. State Labor Governments underfund their pre-school responsibilities proving that when in office Labor does not provide more support for early childhood care.
    • Labors current proposals for childcare are unfunded, uncosted and all over the place.
    • Labor can’t say where they would build childcare centres – noting that until recently they were claiming widespread shortages existed. Their proposal depends on state governments and councils giving up free land which they could do now if they wanted to.
    • Labor’s Tanya Plibersek confessed within a month of Labor’s proposal that they couldn’t end the so-called "double drop-off" because they couldn’t guarantee land would be available within the schools they expected to co-locate childcare centres.
    • Labor’s childcare tax musings lack detail, are uncosted and would favour a wealthy few. Importantly, to get a tax break would require complex and costly tax rulings.
    • Kim Beazley has ‘fessed up that he can’t increase childcare workers wages which his own front bench claim is the reason for worker shortages.