Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

Productivity Commission Report debunks Labor’s child care myth

Much to Labor’s dismay, the Productivity Commission Report on Government Services 2003 shows the Coalition Government’s child care policies are making a real difference throughout the country, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Larry Anthony, said today.

“The report found the Government supported more than 500,000 child care places in 2001-02, an increase of around 42,000 places over 2000-01.

“There is a record number of children in care. The report indicates that approximately 730,000 children used Commonwealth approved child care services in May 2002.

“Coalition Government policies to make child care more affordable and the increase in care options have undoubtedly made it more accessible for parents. Total Commonwealth Government expenditure on child care amounted to approximately $1.6 billion in 2001-02, an 18 per cent increase from 2000-01 (figure 14.2 pg 14.7).

“This is in stark contrast to what the Labor Party would have you believe. For months Labor has been relying on funny numbers in an attempt to have the community believe that Coalition Government spending on child care had decreased. This report from the Productivity Commission puts an end to that myth.

“Our commitment to child care will reach a record $8 billion over the next four years. This significant increase in Government assistance to help parents with the cost has substantially increased affordability of child care.

“The Coalition Government’s priority to provide high quality care is supported by the report which shows that the accreditation system is working with around 91 per cent of all centre based long day care centres accredited in 2002.

“We are committed to providing more flexible child care options to better meet the individual needs of Australian families and this report shows that we are continually making child care more affordable, flexible and available,” Mr Anthony said