Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Important Role of Child Care Workers Acknowledged

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Philip Ruddock MP, Attorney-General and Acting Minister for Family and Community Services

The Australian Industrial Relations Commission’s (AIRC) decision regarding child care awards acknowledges the vital role child care workers play in the development of Australia’s children, Acting Minister for Family and Community Services Philip Ruddock said today.

“The AIRC decision calls for the parties to confer and return with an appropriate classification structure for child care workers, within the parameters outlined by the Commission,” Mr Ruddock said.

“It will be important for the parties to work together to come to an agreed position. I also understand final new award rates for Victoria and the ACT have not yet been determined, and that a date of effect has not been announced.

“The child care sector has been aware of the wages claim for some time and many services have been planning for wage increases in their budgets. Many child care centres already pay above award rates.

“This is an example of the flexibility this Government has given employees and their employers to negotiate on pay and conditions, including through negotiating individual agreements through workplace bargaining, in action,” he said.

Mr Ruddock said the Government’s unprecedented child care assistance included $1.5 billion a year to families through Child Care Benefit (CCB) and more than $200 million to support services through the Child Care Support Program (CCSP).

“In addition, the Government introduced at the last election, further assistance to families of around $1 billion for the 30 per cent child care tax rebate which will help with the costs of work-related care.

“This Government has done more than any other to assist parents to combine their work and family responsibilities through providing record funding for child care, record numbers of places and unprecedented assistance for families with the costs of the care they choose to use,” Mr Ruddock said.