Media Release by The Hon Mal Brough MP

Macklin’s blinkers on child care

"Jenny Macklin needs to take a closer look at ABS data today on people not in the labour force," Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Mal Brough said today.

"In fact, the biggest number of people who cite a child-care reason for not being in the workforce, are making the choice to care for their children themselves and it’s great that they feel they have that choice.

"That is entirely what Government support in child care is designed to do – give people choice.

"Ms Macklin overlooks that across most states, the number of people listing cost and availability has decreased since the last survey in 2005.

"For those that choose to use child care, taxpayers are providing $10 billion in support over four years.

"This includes support through the Child Care Benefit and for working families through Child Care Tax rebate.

"People on low incomes seeking to return to work may also be able to access JET Child Care, at a cost of only 10 cents an hour. This Howard Government initiative is specifically designed to help people re-enter the workforce after raising children.

"Ms Macklin might like to mis-use the ABS data to push her misinformation campaign about child care.

"The reality is that there are between 100,000 and 120,000 vacancies across Australia and the percentage of disposable income families need to cover child care expenses has not risen under this Government and, in many cases, has fallen as a consequence of increased wages and tax cuts.

"It’s about time Ms Macklin provided a real policy alternative. Her plans to date, such as 600 waiting lists and requiring all child care workers to have tertiary qualifications, are measures which would only drive costs higher and limit choice."