Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Plibersek’s child care knowledge embarrassing

Tanya Plibersek again shows her lack of understanding of her portfolio by continuing to misrepresent figures for her own political gain.

Ms Plibersek is using four-year-old data to suggest that there is a need for 174,500 extra child care places when she knows full well that the ABS survey to which she referred asked parents if they would like as little as one extra hour of care.

Ms Plibersek is also ignoring the fact that since 2001 the Australian Government has provided Child Care Benefit for an extra 71,500 parents and in the last Budget alone funded an extra 40,000 Outside School Hours Care places.

Ms Plibersek’s claims that the 40,000 extra places in the last Budget “haven’t been allocated yet” are also clearly wrong.

All 40,000 places were allocated and we regularly monitor all OSHC places to ensure they are being fully utilised to provide the best possible service for parents.

Last week I announced that 2,000 OSHC places were being reallocated to ensure they were being used. Over the last 12 months approximately 7,500 of the total number of places have been reallocated as a result of constant monitoring.

If Ms Plibersek understood the childcare system she would realise that changing needs of families and communities often means places need to be reallocated.

Ms Plibersek’s embarrassing lack of understanding about the childcare system is also evident when she calls for extra long day care places in the Budget.

The Government does not cap long day care places – if a child care centre opens up and meets state and territory licencing and Australian Government approval processes, the Government will provide Child Care Benefit to the parents to assist with the cost of childcare at the centre.

Ms Plibersek either displays an embarrassing lack of understanding about her shadow portfolio or she is deliberately attempting to peddle untruths.