Federal Government delivering child care reform
March 1, 2017
I think the member for Fairfax looks pretty good sitting here next to me.
Once again I am left to talk after the member for Lindsay and improve the tone of this place, and it is absolutely my pleasure to do so.
Another day, another issue from Labor, as we have heard in the last half an hour or so, but we know that, when they were in charge of child care, they made a real meal of it.
Before I talk about the improvements to child care, I thought we would just take a little tiny walk down memory lane with those opposite to all those long, dark years until some three years ago.
The Productivity Commission—an independent body, as you know, Deputy Speaker—found that Labor's irresponsible increase in the rate of childcare rebate in July 2008 led to an accelerated increase in the average annual long-day-care fees.
Let there be no doubt in anyone's mind here: the Australian Labor Party have no credibility on childcare reform, absolutely none.
This government's childcare package, as we know, was announced in the 2015 budget. Under the federal government's package, members on this side of the chamber will make the single largest investment in early learning and child care that this country has ever seen.
It is great news for parents, education and child care in my electorate of Durack.
Just so those opposite can comprehend—and I am pleased to see that there are still a few left in the chamber—not only are the federal government ending Labor's waste; we are making a record and unprecedented investment in education at the early age and also supporting the most vulnerable Australians to enable them to get ahead.
Mr Deputy Speaker, as you know, the federal government understands that the cost of living has risen significantly in recent years. With our childcare package, we want to help people who are trying to help themselves.
It is as simple as that.
There are new job opportunities being created every day in my electorate of Durack, from the Kimberley in the north to the Wheatbelt in the south of my electorate, and this package will assist those parents in picking up a couple of extra hours on a day or a couple of extra shifts a week or perhaps in working outside the usual nine to five.
Unlike the Labor Party, our package will not just provide parents with a break. I accept that there are some people, as the member for Lindsay described, who have families with special needs.
This does provide a break, and I accept that, but I can tell you that there would be many people in this place who know that parents, especially mothers—and I know many of them; many of them are my friends—take advantage of child care in order to give themselves a break.
They go to the gym. They get their nails done.
I think I am entitled to say this because I have seen it firsthand when my friends are using child care and my child is not able to go to that place, because it is full.
That is not what we are about in this place here. We need to back parents who want to get ahead, accepting that there are some people—as I accept the member for Lindsay did—who have a special need.
But, as my colleagues said earlier, this government's package will provide genuine reform for a simpler, more affordable, accessible and flexible childcare system.
As someone who has used child care, as I have just said, I know that this is a complicated system that we currently have, and we must make it simpler. It is as simple as that.
With our reforms, those earning the least will be able to enjoy the biggest rebate, up to 85 per cent.
And that is the way it ought to be. The most vulnerable should get a helping hand. There is no denying that.
As you earn more, of course, the rebate reduces, which is absolutely the way it ought to be.
Remember, we are spending taxpayers' dollars here. We need to be careful.
We are the government. We must be careful. We must be responsible.
Previously, there was little point in earning extra, as the cost of child care would significantly eat into any extra earnings that parents would make.
So we are saying now: we are going to back you.
You want to work that extra shift?
Previously there would have been no point because it would have been eaten up with childcare costs.
That exercise would have been futile; now, they will be able to do it.
I just want to make a point.
We heard the member for Adelaide and also the member for Lindsay talking about the Indigenous organisations and how they are going to be worse off.
I am the member for Durack and a member of this federal government.
We will ensure that services supporting our most disadvantaged families—and I have hundreds of them in my electorate, let me tell you—will continue to have access to the same opportunities for additional funding available to other childcare services.
So what those opposite have said is not true; it is just the usual rubbish that comes over the boundary.
I am stunned that the Labor Party, who claim to represent the working class—which I have said before in this chamber is simply not true—are once again trying to make child care more expensive and less fair.
We on this side of the chamber are backing hardworking Australians, those who want to provide for their family and to get ahead. That is what I stand for.
I am not sure what those on the opposite side stand for.