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Media Release by The Hon Mal Brough MP

Report confirms child care costly under Labor

A report into the cost of child care in Australia clearly shows Australians families are better off today than they were under a Labor government 10 years ago, Families and Community Services Minister Mal Brough said today.

Responding to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report, Trends in Affordability of Child Care Services, Mr Brough said even before families received the Child Care Tax Rebate they were better off.

"A single income couple family receiving average weekly earnings with one child in 20 hours of care was paying 5.8 per cent of their weekly net income in 1995 compared to 3.9 per cent in 2004," Mr Brough said.

"The situation is more pronounced for families using family day care. A sole parent receiving parenting payments and studying paid 2.8 per cent of their weekly net income in 1995 compared to 0.3 per cent under this Government in 2004.

"The Howard Government made child care more affordable with the introduction of the Child Care Benefit, the Child Care Tax Rebate and is continuing to support parents with a record $9.5 billion in funding over the next four years."

Mr Brough said the report was based on data from 1991 to 2004 and failed to take into account the extra support the Government was providing such as the Child Care Tax Rebate and extra benefits to low income parents.

"The Child Care Tax Rebate allows working families to claim 30 per cent out-of-pocket expenses or up to $4000 per child per year," Mr Brough said.

"The Australian Government provides Jobs Education and Training (JET) child care assistance to low income families who are undertaking rehabilitation, study, work or job search activities by paying most, or all, of the gap between the total fees and the CCB – making child care even more affordable."

"Australians must not forget that under the previous Labor government child care fees grew at twice the rate than under the Howard Government," Mr Brough said.