Six-month anniversary of the Government’s detail-free child care changes; Christian Porter’s claims that teenagers will benefit from child care changes

"What the Government needs to know is what every parent knows, and that is children grow up, not down. You cannot strip funding off families who have teenage children and claim that they will be better off because you are putting funding into the child care system."

DOORSTOP - CANBERRA

TUESDAY 10 NOVEMBER 2015

KATE ELLIS, SHADOW MINISTER FOR EARLY EDUCATION: It is six months since the Government announced that they had a child care package for Australian families, yet after six months we are yet to see any of the detail of this package. It is very clear that this is a Government that has no idea what they are doing when it comes to supporting Australian families. We've seen that again today in Question Time when Minister Porter tried to argue that parents who were losing their family tax benefit would be better off because they would get more money through the child care policies. What the Government needs to know is what every parent knows, and that is children grow up, not down. You cannot strip funding off families who have teenage children and claim that they will be better off because you are putting funding into the child care system. 

Let's make something very clear to Minister Porter, Australian teenagers do not attend child care centres. Australian teenagers do not benefit from child care changes. And in fact, nobody benefits from the Government who puts out press releases claiming to have a child care policy, yet never ever produces the detail or provides any legislation. 

We also know that Minister Porter is hopelessly out of his depth, in Question Time today, he also continued to try and say that families in Australia would be $1,500 per week better off, as a result of the Government's child care policy. This is utter rubbish. It shows that once again, the Minister has his facts wrong, the Government have their facts wrong, but most importantly it shows that it is Australian families who are continuing to be hurt by this Government attacking and then attacking again. What we've seen today is that Malcolm Turnbull's attacks on Australian families will hit hard and nothing that they do to the child care policy is going to make amends for that.

JOURNALIST: Labor has announced today it won't back a number of the changes to family tax benefit, where do you propose the money will come from to make sure that there is a child care package available that is fully funded?

ELLIS: Well the first thing that I would say is that the Government claims that the changes to family tax benefit are a requirement for their child care changes, but that is of course complete rubbish. These things should be looked at separately. We know that there is no need to link these family tax changes directly to the child care changes because the Government themselves have conceded that when Senator Sinodinos said that linking the two was purely a political solution for the Government. Now of course we want to see better solutions for Australian families when it comes to child care, and we have announced across Government a number of areas where we believe that more savings can be found, and we will continue to make those announcements going forward. We have made announcements around superannuation concessions, we have made announcements around multinational tax loopholes. We know that ultimately, Government is about setting priorities, and it is not the priority of Labor to see families robbed in order to support other families, but that is clearly what the Turnbull Government are committed to doing.

JOURNALIST: The Government has launched its nanny pilot program, what's your view on the program?

ELLIS: Well, we're yet to see any of the detail about the Government's nanny program. We have seen however that it will not be within a regulated framework, we have also seen of course that there is a serious question being raised about how many families will be able to access nannies under this scheme and at what income. We don't know whether the pilot that the Government is putting forward is even viable, so we are looking forward to seeing more information about that, but what we do know is that Australian families on the whole need more support when it comes to child care. They have not seen one single action from this Government except to conduct reviews and to make announcements and to make cuts. By the time of the next election, by this Government's own account they would have done absolutely nothing to assist with the affordability and accessibility of Australian child care, and frankly I think Australian families deserve better.