Joint Media Release with The Hon Maxine McKew MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Early Childhood Education and Child Care.
Last week the Minister for Education, Julia Gillard, wrote to all child care services, implementing the first phase of the Rudd Labor Government’s election commitment to provide better quality information to parents about child care services.
The letter outlines the three key areas in which the Government is committed to improving the information available to parents about fee increases, vacancy data and service quality.
The Government is asking services to provide information on their current fees and the fees they will be charging from July 31 2008. At this stage, the provision of fee information is voluntary and will be published on a new Information for Parents website.
The Government acknowledges that most services do the right thing when it comes to passing on the ordinary increases in operating expenses to parents and we expect that this will continue. Parents should be able to see which centres in their local area are keeping fee increases to a necessary minimum.
The Government will work with the sector over the coming months to seek input on the next phase of the plan including:
vacancy data that better meets the needs of parents;
new A to E quality rating system and new quality standards;
parental reviews of child care services; and
mandatory provision of fee information for publication.
These consultations will include how to minimise the regulatory burden on child care service providers and maximise information to parents.
Providing greater information to parents is part of the Rudd Labor Government’s comprehensive plan to deliver high quality, affordable and accessible child care for Australian children.
This is part of creating a more transparent market for child care services.
The Rudd Government has promised to increase the Child Care Tax Rebate from 30 to 50 per cent of out of pocket costs to ease the financial pressure on working families. The Government will not tolerate unfair fee hikes or profiteering from child care centres.
The Rudd Government is committed to establishing up to 260 additional child care centres by 2014, including 38 by 2010. In delivering these centres through new private and/or community partnerships, the Government will consider diversity of provision, equity of access and track record on affordability.
The Rudd Government wants to ensure parents have access to the best available information when making choices about affordable, quality child care options.