Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

ALP to restore failed child care policies

The Labor Party today revealed they will revert to their old child care policies that would see families receiving less assistance for their child care costs.

Shadow Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Senator Jacinta Collins, has committed the Labor Party to restoring their old child care policies that were proven to be ineffective. Today’s announcement has again reinforced just how little the Labor Party knows about what Australian families want and need.

In The Age today, Senator Collins said that Labor would reintroduce direct payments to child care centres. This is simply the way Labor used to fund child care when they were last in power.

The Coalition Government made it a priority to fund Australian families directly to assist them with their child care costs. Our Child Care Benefit payment is delivering an average payment of $2,000 per family. The bulk of our $8 billion commitment for child care over the next four years will go towards this payment.

However, Labor has today identified their priority of directing funding to child care centres. This means that the Australian taxpayer will footing the bill for literally building more child care centres.

In light of the Shadow Treasurer, Bob McMullan’s comments last week that all Labor proposals should be economically responsible, I ask Senator Collins to explain how Labor intends to pay for this hugely expensive proposition. She has not ruled out tax increases.

There is no economically responsible way to give significant funding to families and for child care centres’ capital. Senator Collins now needs to come clean and tell Australian families whether the Labor Party will cut Child Care Benefit to fund her proposal or increase taxes. This is not what Australian families need.

Late last year the Government announced an additional $79.5 million for 10,000 more Outside School Hours Care places, 2,500 Family Day Care places and 4,000 more playgroups.

The Howard Government’s policies on child care have delivered a number of records – record number of services, places and children using child care. Our policies are working and will continue to work in the best interests of helping Australian families balance their work and family commitments.