Media Release by The Hon Mal Brough MP

Child Care CPI Doesn’t Tell the Whole Story

"ABS data released today doesn’t tell the whole story of the cost of child care," Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Mal Brough, said today.

"The data doesn’t include the benefit of the Child Care Tax Rebate which provides significant support for working families, with a tax rebate of up to $4,000 per child, per year.

"It also doesn’t reflect the fact that the proportion of disposable income required to meet the cost of child care under the Howard Government has, in most cases, fallen. This is a direct consequence of more family support and real wage growth of 22 per cent over ten years, compared to only three per cent in Labor’s last decade in office.

"While nobody pretends that something as important as care for a child is cheap, it is important to recognise that few people pay the sorts of fees portrayed in the media.

"Few people have more than one child in formal care or use full-time care. The majority of families have one child in part time care

"The large group of families with average incomes between $30,000 and $80,000 would be spending between four and five percent of their disposable income on child care, compared to six per cent under Labor.

"There is no doubt that when it comes to delivering real choice and financial support for families using child care, the Howard Government is streets ahead of Labor, and we continue to monitor the situation.

"Under the Howard Government, spending on child care at about $10 billion over four years is more than double that spent by Labor and places available have more than doubled as well.

"The latest availability data I released last week shows up to 139,000 child care vacancies a day across Australia and the OECD has reported that Australia, under the current Government, has higher levels of subsidy for parents’ child care choices than other comparable nations."

"On the other hand, Labor’s plans, for example requiring four year degrees for child care workers – even family day care workers – will drive up costs to families.

"Labor’s poor economic record of high unemployment, high interest rates and low wages growth mean child care would be a lot harder for most families to afford."

"If you don’t have a job, which is a likely outcome of Labor’s poor economic management you not only can’t afford child care – you won’t need it!"