Apr 20, 2007

No childcare crisis?

No childcare crisis?


20 April 2007

Minister Brough needs to stop playing games on the issue of childcare.

The Minister’s statement that, “There is no crisis” (The Australian, April 20, p8) is offensive to the families in my electorate who are struggling to find affordable, accessible childcare.

The childcare crisis is real. The figures revealed yesterday showed Summer Hill as a hot-spot, with no available childcare places, but the reality is that people all over my electorate are feeling the heat.

Parents know the childcare crisis is real. I continue to be contacted by parents who are frustrated at the lack of affordable, accessible child care options for their children.

According to recent analysis of the Australian Bureau of Statistics Consumer Price Index figures, out of pocket childcare costs for families have doubled under the Howard Government.

And it’s no help that some parents have had to wait long periods before they received the 30 per cent childcare tax rebate.

Federal Labor has a plan to tackle the childcare crisis. A Rudd Labor Government will provide extra financial assistance to build up to 260 additional childcare centres on primary school grounds and other community land in partnership with childcare providers, for a total investment of up to $200 million.

Federal Labor will also invest $450 million in an Early Childhood Education Plan, to give all four year olds an entitlement to high quality preschool or early learning each week. This will be delivered by a qualified teacher, for fifteen hours a week and for a minimum of forty weeks per year.

To support this, Federal Labor is also committed to funding 1,500 new university places and getting rid of TAFE fees for child care trainees.

Labor has a real solution to the childcare crisis, but the Howard Government still has its head buried in the sandpit.