Release type: Transcript

Date:

Transcript: Doorstop — Brandon Park Childcare Centre, Chisholm

Ministers:

The Hon Stuart Robert MP
Acting Minister for Education and Youth
Senator the Hon Jane Hume
Minister for Women's Economic Security
Ms Gladys Liu MP
Member for Chisholm

Topics: Floods; Morrison Government’s higher Child Care Subsidy; Labor’s child care for millionaires

E&OE-------------------------------------

GLADYS LIU:

Well, welcome to Chisholm and welcome to Brandon Park Childcare Centre. And it's a big welcome of the Brandon Park Childcare Centre into my electorate of Chisholm. It's great to be here with Sharmalee and her staff, and also all the kids. It's a lovely place. And I'm here also with Minister Stuart Robert, the Minister for Education, and also Minister Jane Hume, Minister for Women's Economic Security. 

So today, it is such a perfect opportunity to announce the increased childcare subsidies, because we have so many families in Chisholm – 7400 families using childcare. And among these 7400, we have 780 families having more than one child in childcare. That is more than 10 per cent. So what this new announcement is about is how we can support families with more than one child in childcare. 

I've got two children and they are only 2.5 years apart, so I understand and I can relate to all the families needing that support. Especially for me – I came here with no family support. My mom wasn't here, my mother-in-law wasn't here to help me, and I know a lot of families are in similar situation. They may have found families and parents interstate or living far away. So relying on childcare support is huge, and I'm very glad that we can support families with more than one child. And of course, this will benefit those who are using the facilities at the moment and also giving the option to those who may want to consider coming back into the workforce or increase their time of working. So, a great announcement, and I just want to make sure everyone who lives in Chisholm knows about it. If you don't, you can always come to my office and I will be able to tell you how you can benefit from it. And the good thing is, you don't have to apply because people just happen and give you the Child Care Subsidy.

And I will get Minister Robert to tell you more.

MINISTER ROBERT:

Thanks Gladys. It's great to be here with you and with my great colleague Jane Hume, the Minister for Women's Economic Security. Sharmalee, thank you for opening your centre to us. It's a beautiful day here in Melbourne and a dry day, but I am cognisant that in many parts of Australia, it is very wet, it is still raining, and there are some difficult times ahead, and our thoughts and prayers go out to those Australians in my home state of Queensland and of course, across the border into New South Wales. 

But today, of course, the Morrison Government is going live with the $2 billion initiative for childcare for the second and third child. This increases the Child Care Subsidy up to 95 per cent, so increases it by 30 per cent for that second and third child. Many, many families will see savings of over $2200. That's a direct saving those families will see because of the Morrison Government's childcare commitment, which starts today. Importantly, families don't have to do anything. The system will automatically calculate and apply that increased rebate for the second and third child. And as Gladys has said, over 700 families will be benefiting right here in the electorate of Chisholm, and we'll see that 250,000 children right across Australia benefiting from this incredible $2 billion injection to assist the second and third child.

The Morrison Government is spending $10.3 billion on childcare this financial year, increasing to $11 billion next financial year. And of course, during COVID, we've seen $3.2 billion in direct assistance for childcare centres and early educators, on top of the $2 billion in JobTrainer to see the highest increase in early childhood educators being trained in a generation. The Morrison Government will continue to invest strongly in this sector. It is key for productivity. It's key for choice. And it's key to allow women the opportunity to enter into the workforce.

Jane.

JANE HUME:

Thanks, Stuart and thanks, Gladys. Well it’s terrific to be here today at the Brandon Park Childcare Centre. Thank you very much to Sharmalee for showing us around today and for introducing us to so many of the kids. And it's great to meet the kids of the families that are going to benefit from today's announcement – well actually, an announcement from the budget last year that comes to fruition today.

Around 250,000 Australian families will now benefit to the tune of an average of around $2260 a year because of changes to the Child Care Subsidy, up to 95 per cent for second and subsequent children. So this is aimed at families who are working, who are studying, who are volunteering. They have to make those very difficult decisions, particularly for secondary income earners, most often women, about whether to take on those extra days, those extra hours, or indeed to go back to work at all. Sometimes, the marginal benefit of going back to work is outweighed by the marginal cost. With these new changes to the Child Care Subsidy, up to 95 per cent in subsidy for second or subsequent children. Well, those decisions are made just that little bit easier. And particularly for those secondary income earners, which we know are largely women who have to make those very difficult decisions. 

We think this will help make that decision to take on the extra days, take on the extra hours, return to work and increase their economic participation, and of course their financial security. It's estimated that around 40,000 additional days of work will be done by secondary income earners, largely women, returning to the workforce and taking on those extra days, taking on those extra hours. And that additional 40,000 days of work in the economy translates to around $1.5 billion added to GDP’s bottom line every year. 

So it's great for women, it's great for families, it's great for communities, and it's great for the kids as well.

Labor's policy, on the other hand, would see child care available for millionaires. In fact, we have families earning more than half a million dollars who would only pay around $2600 a year in child care, while the taxpayer subsidises around $24,000 a year to those families that, let's face it, can afford childcare themselves. It's taxpayers, those low- and middle-income earners that need the subsidies that will end up subsidising millionaires’ families. And there's nothing fair about that. There's nothing equitable about that. 

The Morrison Government's childcare policy makes sure that it's targeted to those that are working, to those that are volunteering, to those that are studying, to those that need it the most, to those women in particular that need the choices and chances that we expect and deserve. I’ll leave it there for questions.

MINISTER ROBERT:

Questions?

QUESTION:

So I do have a question. So there’s been independent analysis done that's showing around 700,000 families won't benefit from today’s policy. What's been done to lower their costs?

MINISTER ROBERT:

I've seen the Labor Party out this morning with those numbers. The bottom line is Labor’s looking at a universal 90 per cent subsidy across the board. It is a $63 billion cost across 10 years. Typical Labor Party, they’ve not outlined exactly how they intend to pay for that or where the dollars and cents are coming from. At Labor's policy of universal 90 per cent, you're seeing millionaire families, families earning over half a million dollars a year, getting $60,000 for a number of children a year compared to the lower-end families at $70,000 a year getting $6 a day. There is nothing equitable about that. When Labor speaks about families missing out, it's those families at the top end.

QUESTION:

Then why not increase the subsidy into families with one child? 

MINISTER ROBERT:

Well, at present, the subsidy, of course, is up to a maximum of 85 per cent, and then the second and third child is where that productivity benefit comes in. Now the vast majority of families are paying the amounts of dollars a day, which is fair and reasonable. Only 47 per cent of families send their children to childcare, 53 per cent of families do not. So finding a balance in the economy is important. Hence, that 85 per cent of the first family, or the first child. But for the second and third child, as Minister Hume said, the opportunity for women to get back into the workforce and for that marginal cost of employment to be increased, that's where increasing the subsidy to 95 per cent makes such a huge difference.

QUESTION:

And with the one child as well. So the Grattan Institute says that children- families with one child under six would be better off under Labor's policy. Do you feel you're being generous enough?

MINISTER ROBERT:

Well, Labor's policy, of course, at universal childcare will pay for, at 90 per cent of the subsidy, at $63 billion. Of course, some people might look better off when Labor throws a whole bunch of money at everyone without saying how to be paid. But the bottom line is Labor's policy will provide $60,000 a year to millionaires and $6 a day to struggling Australians. And that's not right, and that's not fair.

QUESTION:

And in regards to the cap, why not scrap the subsidy cap altogether? 

MINISTER ROBERT:

The subsidy cap, or the upper cap has been scrapped. So not just is there an increase to 95 per cent for the second and third child, but that cap has also been scrapped.

All done? 

Thanks very much.

[ENDS]