Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

Collins wrong on child care facts again

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Larry Anthony today said that Labor has shown again that they know nothing about how child care works.

“Contrary to Labor’s claims that child care prices are ‘spiralling out of control’, child care remains more affordable than it has ever been.

“Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today show that the child care CPI has increased by 7.3 per cent in one quarter (June quarter 2003 to September quarter 2003) and by 12.4 per cent in one year (September quarter 2002 to September quarter 2003).

“However, these figures do not mean that child care fees have gone up 12.4 per cent in the last year, as claimed by Senator Collins.

“These figures are based on a model and not on real child care costs. They are not an accurate representation of what parents actually pay for care. A better gauge of child care costs is the ABS Child Care Survey released May 2003 which clearly shows that families are spending less on child care.

“It showed that a family earning $50,000 a year with one child in full-time care now pays around $380 less out of their pockets a year for child care fees than they would have in June 2000.

“Their report also revealed that for 45 per cent of all children in formal care, the cost is less than $20 a week per child after they receive Child Care Benefit.

“Senator Collins has again shown that she is not on top of the details of her brief. As I have offered in the past, I am happy to talk the Senator through any issue in the Children and Youth Affairs portfolio to help her get her facts straight.

“It is this Government that remains committed to facilitating access to affordable, high quality care. We are maintaining record allocation of $8 billion over the next four years which is delivering an average payment of $2,000 a year in Child Care Benefit to Australian Families,” Mr Anthony said.