Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Howard Government committed to child care

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson today reiterated the Howard Government’s commitment to doing its part to ensure parents have access to affordable and accessible child care.

Commenting on the release of the report: Creating Choice Employment and the cost of care by the Taskforce on Care Costs Senator Patterson said “Since coming into Government we have nearly doubled spending on child care in real terms.”

“We have increased places by 83% to 560,000, and our policies are making a real difference to the parents of almost 800,000 Australian children who are now able to use high quality, subsidised child care.

“The Australian Government funds child care by providing parents with substantial financial support through the Child Care Benefit (CCB) and the new 30 per cent Child Care Tax Rebate.

“All families are eligible for the Government’s Child Care Benefit payment which reduces the amount of money they have to pay.

“The incoming Child Care Tax Rebate will also rebate 30 per cent of the out of pocket costs for approved, work-related care on top of this, to a very generous maximum of $4000 per year per child.

“This rebate will make child care even more affordable. If people are paying more than average fees, they will receive more in Government support.

“Record low levels of unemployment created by Howard Government policies have boosted the demand for child care to unprecedented levels.

“However, families should remember that the Australian Government does not cap the number of long day care places, ensuring appropriate provision of child care services thus requires creative thinking by state and local governments, who also play key roles in removing barriers to operators setting up in areas of need.

“As the Federal Minister responsible for child care I have raised with my state and territory counterparts my desire to improve child care for Australian families and their children.

“I am absolutely committed to ensuring that parents are properly supported to care for their children and balance their work and family obligations,” said Senator Patterson.