Media Release by The Hon Mal Brough MP

Labor admits failing our children and offers nothing new

“The only new aspect of today’s policy from Labor on early childhood development is that it represents an admission that State and Territory Labor Governments have failed in this key area,” Minister for Families, Community services and Indigenous Affairs, Mal Brough, said today.

“Many of the aspects of early childhood development covered in today’s announcement by Mr Rudd are the responsibility of the states.

“Clearly, state and territory Labor Governments have failed our kids and now Mr Rudd wants to tell Australians that Federal Labor should be given a chance.

“Yet Mr Rudd can’t even tell us what his programme will cost or where the money will come from.

“Labor states have failed in this area. Why should Australians believe Federal Labor would be any different to State Labor”

Mr Brough said most of the policy announcement today was old news.

  • The Healthy Kids Check was announced in January. The only new aspect in the announcement is that Federal Labor will consult with health experts – hardly innovative!
  • The Howard Government has already rolled out the Australian early Development Index to 61 communities across Australia, covering 30,000 children.
  • The Healthy Habits for Life is simply a re-badging of Howard Government initiatives already underway through the $116 million Building a healthy, Active Australia Programme.

“In his re-statement of universal learning for all four year olds Mr Rudd doesn’t say what it will cost parents,” Mr Brough said.

“Families will have to pay for it. Where it is delivered in child care centres, staff delivering programmes will be required to hold tertiary degrees, pushing up the cost of care and doing nothing to address access – the issue Labor keeps telling us is critical.

“Federal Labor’s policy presents nothing new.

“Labor’s policy is paltry in comparison to the significant commitment of the Howard Government to children and families, including $10 billion over four years in child care assistance and almost $500 million over five years to Stronger Families and Communities.

“This level of commitment to families and children has only been possible because of the strong financial management of the Howard Government over the past 11 years.

“Federal Labor cannot be trusted to do any better where its state and territory counterparts have failed dismally.”