Release type: Transcript

Date:

Interview — Channel 7 Sunrise

Ministers:

The Hon Stuart Robert MP
Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business
Acting Minister for Education and Youth

DAVID KOCH:

Now, childcare is one of the biggest expenses for families with young children and it can be challenging to find a place with fewer available because of COVID staff shortages. Now there's a new website designed to help parents navigate the sector. StartingBlocks allows families to compare fees, vacancies, inclusions, and also quality ratings. We're joined by Education and Youth Minister, Stuart Robert. Minister, let's start with the website. How is this going to help parents?

MINISTER ROBERT:

Startingblocks.gov.au, Kochie, or just Google Starting Blocks, is designed to give parents and families all the information they need so they can go in and say, I’ve got this number of kids, or I’m looking for this star rating, I’m in this area, this postcode, what vacancies exist? Do I need long day-care, short day-care, after-hours? All of that information is there so families can make informed choices.

DAVID KOCH:        

Childcare centres across the country are struggling at the moment with staff shortages exacerbated by COVID. How are you addressing that?

MINISTER ROBERT:

It’s a great question, Kochie. There’s a $2 billion JobTrainer fund right now in partnership with the states and territories that is putting in an unprecedented investment, and 463,000 Australians are getting training. And luckily, of the top five courses right now, the Cert 3 in Early childhood and Diploma in Early childhood is number two and three – Attendant Care is number one. So an unprecedented level of training going in to really get those skilled people right here into centres like Learning Links where I am here at a preschool in Southern Sydney.

DAVID KOCH:        

Gee, that’s good to hear. So the pipeline of staff coming through looks pretty healthy at the moment. We’ve also got this childcare subsidy to increase. What kind of difference will that make for families and how does that work?

MINISTER ROBERT:

7 March, so, goodness, in a few weeks’ time, Kochie, $2 billion Morrison Government investment comes in whereby your out-of-pocket costs, if you like, or the extra subsidy the commonwealth government provides for you increases by 30 per cent, for your second and third child up to 95 per cent of the cost of fees. So that’ll see 250,000 families save on average $2200 a year. So it’s just recognition that it is expensive with two to three kids.

DAVID KOCH:

[Interrupts] Oh yeah.

MINISTER ROBERT:

I’ve got three boys. It costs a lot of money. And they eat a lot, Kochie.

DAVID KOCH:

[Laughs] You’re only at the start. It’s a great discussion for contraception, I think, the cost of kids at the moment. But every bit helps.

MINISTER ROBERT:

[Interrupts] I think we’ll move on from that one.

DAVID KOCH:        

[Laughs] Stuart Robert, thanks for joining us.