Peter Khalil: A lot of media reports highlight that government rebates have failed to keep pace with increasing childcare costs. That’s forcing many working families to pay full fees. Parents are not able to afford the early learning services they need for their kids. Data from the Department of Education and Training’s Early childhood and child care in summary report show that hourly fees at early learning facilities have risen by an annual average of 5.4 per cent since 2013. The means-tested fee subsidy, known as a childcare benefit, has increased by only 1.7 per cent. The obvious pressure that this puts on working families who rely on early learning services has been regularly echoed to me on the many visits I’ve made to childcare centres in my electorate and by the many parents that I speak to. Access to early learning is about more than just giving flexibility to parents; it amplifies children’s development, improves school results and boosts long-term social and economic outcomes. It’s an investment in our nation’s future.
Labor is committed to taking pressure off family budgets, to making access to early education and care more affordable, and to supporting parents to return to work. Before the last election, this Liberal government promised to make child care more affordable for Australian families. But what’s actually happened? It has failed miserably. There has been no follow-through. As my constituents are left to watch costs go up year on year, it begs the question: how much longer will families across Australia and in my electorate of Wills have to carry the load for the lack of vision and the empty promises of this rabble of a government?