May 10, 2006

No Solution to Childcare Crisis


Wayne Swan MP

Federal Labor Shadow Treasurer

10 May 2006

Peter Costello is trying to con middle Australia with his childcare announcement.

Peter Costello has announced $60 million for childcare places – but they will never be delivered.

Parents have been struggling for too long with the cost, availability and inconvenience of childcare. Tonight they will be asking themselves whether this Budget guarantees a single extra place, takes a single dollar off their bills or saves them a single minute driving their children to and from childcare.

Sadly, the answer is no.

Peter Costello is taking the system that has failed to deliver centre-based long day care places and is now applying it to the whole childcare system.

And the incompetent Howard Government is already sitting on almost 100,000 unallocated childcare places – mainly because there are not enough childcare workers to deliver the care.

Not only does this deny middle Australian families the care they need, it will also have lasting effects on the Australian economy.

Parents who can’t find childcare can’t work.

In fact, the only new childcare money we can be sure will be spent is $2.3 million allocated for advertising the childcare tax rebate – announced in the 2004 election campaign, but yet to make it to parents.

The Howard Government must take concrete steps to solve Australia’s childcare crisis, starting with providing new capital funding to establish new childcare centres on primary school grounds; solving the workforce issues that are crippling the system; establishing a single waiting list in local areas; and fixing the childcare tax rebate red tape disaster.