With the Government’s child care changes set to be voted upon today, the Parliament must act to ensure vulnerable children will have access to at least two days of early education.
The current changes will halve the access that children from vulnerable and disadvantaged families get from two days a week to one. This cut will have a devastating effect on our youngest, most vulnerable Australians.
The rejection of this cut has been nearly unanimous. It is a move that has been criticised by three Senate inquiries, by Labor, by crossbenchers, by sector experts and stakeholders.
“NXT is concerned about changes to the activity test.”
[Additional Comments by the Nick Xenophon Team, Senate Inquiry into the Jobs for Families Child Care Package Bill 2016, 10 October 2016]
“We cannot support the package as presented…the policy objective we are all aligned on in the two days a week entitlement.”
[Sam Page, Early Childhood Australia, Senate Inquiry into the Omnibus Savings and Child Care Reform Bill 2017, 9 March 2017]
“The evidence is clear that children benefit from access to high-quality early learning, particularly from two days per week”
[Bernie Nott, Early Learning and Care Council of Australia, Senate Inquiry into the Omnibus Savings and Child Care Reform Bill 2017, 9 March 2017]
“Children from disadvantaged families need to have access to two days per week of affordable quality early childhood education and care as a minimum. The 12 hours per week proposed is insufficient.”
[Mission Australia, Submission to the Senate Inquiry into the Jobs for Families Child Care Package Bill 2015]
“We have come to this minimum requirement of 15 hours as one of the ways of trying to ensure that service provision is over the two days.”
[Paul Mondo, President of the Australian Child Care Alliance, Senate Inquiry into the Omnibus Savings and Child Care Reform Bill 2017, 9 March 2017]
On the same day as they introduced their child care changes, the Minister himself admitted the amount of subsidised care vulnerable would receive should be reconsidered:
Patricia Karvelas: So can I be clear, at the moment it’s 12 hours. You are currently considering changing it to 15 hours?
Simon Birmingham: That’s right.
[RN DRIVE, 8 February 2017]
Today Labor is again calling on the Government to ensure that vulnerable children will not have their access halved. The Minister must put his money where his mouth is and ensure vulnerable children will have access to two days of early education.
The Government must finally come on board today and support what is right for children and right for families.