14 May 2014

Tony Abbott has shown he simply does not understand the needs of Australian families: taking the axe to the early education and care parents rely on every day, while funding $50,000 payments to millionaires through his extravagant parental leave scheme.

This Budget of twisted priorities cuts all federal funding for preschool, threatening the viability of preschool and kindergarten programs around the country.

"Getting rid of preschool funding will see tens of thousands of children miss out on early education," Shadow Minister for Early childhood Kate Ellis said.

"Before the election Tony Abbott promised not to cut education, now he is making every 4 year old in the country pay for his broken promises," Kate Ellis said.

At a time of record demand, with around 335,000 children now using Outside School Hours Care, the Abbott Government has also cut $450 million that would have seen extra programs and places in over 500 schools.

The Child Care Benefit threshold will also be frozen - cutting access to child care for those who can least afford it. Indexation of the Child Care Rebate will also be stopped.

"It is an aggressive attack on family budgets, and on women trying to return to work," Shadow Education Minister Kate Ellis said,

Changes to Jobs, Education and Training (JET) child care fee assistance will slash access to the program meaning that based on the government's own predictions 7,700 children will miss out on a child care place next financial year. These changes will also see parents on income support charged the full cost of child care, over $8 per hour.

Tony Abbott's cuts to child care include:

"Outside School Hours Care - $450 million cut
"Indigenous Child and Family centres - $78 million per year discontinued
"Universal Access to Preschool - almost $500 million per year discontinued
"Child Care Benefit - threshold frozen
"Child Care Rebate - cap frozen
"Jobs, Education and Training (JET) Child Care Fee Assistance - places cut
"Community Support Program - $157.1 million cut
"Early Learning Projects - $14.7 million cut
"Budget Based Funding - $3.7 million cut
"Child Care Accessibility Fund - $3.6 million cut
"Child Care Services Support - $3.1 million cut
"National Career Development - $1.2 million cut
"Recognition of Prior learning - $ 1 million cut
"HECS HELP Benefit, which includes subsidies for Early Childhood Education degrees - $87 million cut
"TAFE fee waivers for childcare qualifications - $17 million per year discontinued
"Professional Support Program - $12 million cut