Labor will continue to take a constructive approach to discussions with the Government on their child care package, Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Kate Ellis said today.

“Labor is considering the Productivity Commission’s report carefully, and while the Liberals’ record on child care is disappointing, we are ready to work constructively with them if they are now serious. 

“Labor’s key policy principles on child care are centred on improving affordability, improving accessibility, safeguarding quality and increasing workforce participation.

 “We will work to ensure the Government’s response takes into account the best interests of children, feedback from the sector, and an assessment of the impact on families.” 

Labor is committed to four key principles which will guide our support for any future child care package:

Any child care package must be based on the dual policy pillars of increasing workforce participation and promoting the best interests of Australian children;

  1. Reform must address affordability issues and the out-of-pocket costs of Australian families  - not just limit Government costs;
  2. A restructured system must improve the accessibility of child care and give due consideration to the impacts that reform can have on investment decisions and waiting lists; and
  3. Recognition needs to be given to the sector’s current and future critical workforce issues.

“Labor is proud of our record in increasing the rebate to 50 per cent to assist parents with out-of-pockets costs, ensuring the quality of care of children through the National Quality Framework, and introducing universal access funding for critical early childhood education. Labor will always be driven to build on this foundation. 

“Any child care reform must, at the very least, remedy the damage done to the child care system by the Government’s Budget cuts. 

“Child care was simply not a priority for the Abbott Government when they stripped a billion dollars from the sector and we are acutely aware that the Government continues to pursue a number of child care cuts. 

“We will continue to negotiate with the Government in good faith and encourage the best possible outcome for Australian families,” Ms Ellis said.