Media Release by The Hon Mal Brough MP

Beazley child care statement a cruel hoax on parents

Kim Beazley has attempted today to deflect from his political woes by releasing an uncosted and cobbled together policy on child care under cover of the Commonwealth Games.

"Mr Beazley admitted on radio 2GB today that the plan has only been put together in recent days and he has not spoken to the Labor states about co-locating child care centres on state government-owned schools," Mr Brough said.

"Building new child care centres on schools would cause an over supply of child care places in some areas and risked pushing existing services out of the market – all at taxpayers’ expense."

Mr Beazley’s claim that this will end "double drop-offs" is meaningless because he cannot guarantee a place for every child.

"Labor has dreamed up this plan without attaching any costs, admitting that it’s a ‘first cut’ of its child care policy," Mr Brough said.

"However, we know that Labor’s union mates in the ACTU wanted to bill taxpayers $1.5 billion to build 1000 child care centres across Australia, which we believe underestimates the cost of putting new centres in each school."

Mr Brough said Labor has, over recent weeks, come to support the Howard Government’s Child Care Tax Rebate. However, two of Labor’s "options" for tinkering the rebate will almost certainly lead to debts for families and the third removes families from having any control over their affairs by requiring child care operators to deal directly with the Australian Tax Office on behalf of families putting the burden on employers to find out about changes in child care costs.

"Labor is just trying to play catch up on waiting lists as it knows the government has already indicated that it is considering options to build on the existing Child Care Access Hotline to provide more help for families," Mr Brough said.

"Parents won’t get too much real help from 695 separate voluntary databases controlled by individual councils, many of which are actually competing child care providers in local markets – yet it would be a massive cost to the taxpayer."

The Howard Government has done more than any other Government to address demand for child care.

Places have doubled to more than 600,000 over the past 10 years while funding has doubled to $9.5 billion over the four years to 2008-09.

"If child care was a Commonwealth Games event then Kim Beazley wouldn’t qualify with this hastily dreamed up plan," Mr Brough said.