***UPDATE July 8th***
The Government has released a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) to assist in gathering feedback on how its changes to childcare will affect families and the sector.
Early Childhood Australia is assisting the Department of Social Services to conduct consultations on the key aspects of the new childcare package. To find out how you can participate and give your feedback click here.
1. Many kids will miss out on quality early learning. The new activity test will mean that children of single income or non-working families or families who depend on causal or seasonal work are likely to miss out on early learning because their parents will no longer be eligible to receive subsidy support.
2. In order to pay for this new package the Federal Government wants to take money away from families in cuts to Family Tax Benefits and parenting payments.
3. And the Government has failed to address the immediate issue of affordability and accessibility that still concerns thousands of parents across the country – instead we must wait until 2017 to see any change.
We’re calling on the Prime Minister and Minister Morrison to take immediate action to ensure every Australian family has access to more affordable high quality early learning and care and to find their $3.5 billion in additional funds for childcare elsewhere – not by ripping away the financial support thousands of Australian families, in particular sole parent families, depend on.
“Australia lagging behind the rest of the developed world on early childhood education”
In a report compiled by UNSW academics Prof. Deborah Brennan and Elizabeth Adamsome, analysis has revealed that the Federal Government’s childcare package is “decades out of date” and will put Australia behind other developed nations when it comes to early childhood reform.
Globally, early-childhood eduaction and care is seen as critical not just in promoting workforce participation but in creating foundations for learning…
…Yet Australia, somehow, missed the memo…
***UPDATE 10 May***
Mother’s Day the Federal Government announced changes to childcare funding arrangements and we’re feeling a bit bittersweet about it.
There is no doubt the gov’ts proposed “jobs for families” package will make the working lives of thousands of mums and dads much easier – it will especially help more mums to get back to work and work more – and this is great!
But there are strings attached.
1. The package denies children of single income or non-working families access to early learning with the removal of subsidies for these parents and may make it significantly harder for families who depend on casual work and seasonal work and,
2. In order to pay for this new package the Federal Government wants to take money away from families in cuts to Family Tax Benefits and parenting payments
If these family payment cuts go through it will devastate thousands of families, in particular single parent families, making it significantly harder for them and their kids.
That is simply unfair.
Last year, Tony Abbott promised us he would re-direct funds from his Paid Parental Leave (PPL) Scheme into a fairer childcare system. But there is nothing fair about “robbing Peter to pay Paul”.
It’s not too late for Mr. Abbott to go back and keep the commitment he made to Australian families that he would use the PPL money for childcare not a tax cut for small business.
***UPDATE 18th APRIL***
We’ve just been told we’ve raised enough money to run the ad for the next 7 days!
Congratulations to all of our members who chipped in, shared our message or recruited a friend to our campaign. Without you, we would not have been able to raise the money needed to get our message on the air.
One of the reasons we raised this money is because so many of you are concerned about the changes the Abbott Government is potentially planning for early learning and care.
That is why I want this ad to run as long as possible to build on the support and momentum we’ve already created this year, before the Government makes their Families Package announcement, which could happen as early as this week
Tune in to Sky News on the weekend or the regular morning free-to-air TV shows next week to see our message to the Prime Minister.
***UPDATE 2nd APRIL***
We have a message for Tony Abbott about childcare and we need your help to get it out because we’re getting really worried about what he might have install for the future of childcare…
We’re worried that …
- instead of making childcare more affordable for families many will see their out-of-pocket costs increase.
- mums will be left with no choice about going back to work – wondering if it’s worth it if so much of their wage will just be going to meet the increased cost for childcare.
- a lot of families will actually loose ALL financial support for childcare and be forced to remove their children from early learning or face full fees.
- this will mean thousands of children will be denied their right to access highquality early learning and care.
Right now the government is only focused on “…how to limit extra spending on childcare while minimising the number of families left worse off.” SMH 30 Mar 2015.
But this is about the lives of over a million children and the effect this will have on homes, schools and workplaces right across the country.
This is about our nation’s economy and future prosperity.
This is huge, so we need your help to get our ad out there – to make sure our message is heard before it’s too late.
Because the closer we get to the Government releasing their “families package” the more we hear about benchmark figures and activity tests and the less we hear about quality, affordability and accessibility.
We thought Mr Abbott got it when we made the decision to scrap his Paid Parental Leave scheme and instead re-direct funds into quality early learning.
***UPDATE*** (25th Feb 2015)
The Productivity Commission has released it’s report in to Childcare and Early Learning.
As Catherine Fox, freelance journalist summarises - “recommendations from the report by the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into childcare are rather like band aids for nasty wounds”
- Current childcare payments be combined into a single payment, paid directly to childcare centres, called “the Early Care and Learning Subsidy”.
- The subsidy rate would be means tested on household income with a sliding scale at 85% for families with incomes at or below $60,000 and 20% for families earning $250,000 or above. Families with a household income of $160,000 would see a cut in the rebate they currently receive.
- Payments would provide up to 100 hours of care per fortnight for children 13 years and under, who have parents that work or study at least 24 hours a fortnight. This would leave 16.4% of working mothers who currently work one to two days a week with NO support for childcare costs.
Yesterday the Prime Minister said he had been “reminded by mums and dads that the focus does need to be on childcare” - that’s the power of The Parenthood voice!
Parents told us that they thought the $5.5B PPL money was better off spent in childcare -
…And the Prime Minister confirmed he has scrapped his signature Paid Parental Leave (PPL) scheme and will instead re-direct funds to be focused on childcare in the yet to be fleshed out ‘families package’.
Parents told us Quality early learning and care was fundamental – we want more one-on-one attention for your kids with highly skilled and qualified educators
…And Social Services Minister Scott Morrison confirmed National Quality Standards are here to stay.
Parents told us that more funding should go to making long day care and family day care more affordable plus to keeping good qualified staff and educator-to-child ratios.
…..The Government has still to announce how much and where the additional money will go.
*”Parents told us” information drawn from The Parenthood’s PPL and Childcare survey results.
Out-of-pocket costs for families could decrease by as much as 32 per cent if at least $1.5 billion from the Paid Parental Leave (PPL) scheme is redirected towards increasing subsidies for childcare and by ensuring it is linked to the fees families actually pay.
For example, a family with two kids in care for three days a week, at a centre that charges $90 per day, need to find $264 a week for care. But with additional investment their out-of-pocket expenses could be reduced to $172.
But there was also another story that talked about how expensive it is for parents when childcare centres have tighter educator-to-child ratios and increased qualifications for educators.
Stories like this one simply make it easier for the government to make cuts to quality standards. Compromising quality to save a few dollars deprives our children of access to the high quality early learning they deserve - and that’s not the answer.
That’s why our Affordable Quality Early Learning Campaign is so important.
If the federal government were to increase the budget for childcare subsidies by at least $1.5 billion the quality education and care children receive would be more affordable – now that’s a better answer!
- the Prime Minister has committed to re-direct funds from his PPL scheme to childcare.
- The Productivity Commission made mention of $1.5 billion being better off spent on childcare subsidies.
- at least $1.5 billion could save families upwards of 32% in out-of-pocket costs whilst maintaining quality standards
- for every dollar a government provides in subsidies for childcare they get $1.51 back in tax revenue – so a great return on government investment.
- access to high quality learning programs from infancy is beneficial for childhood health and development as well as for academic and social achievement at school and in adulthood
So as we get ready for the government’s announcement, we need to be louder, we need to be bolder, and we need to make sure every single decision maker knows that tens of thousands of parents want high quality early learning and care to be accessible for all children and affordable for all parents.
The Government has been considering the Productivity Commission’s final report into childcare for the last month now.
The Government has an historic opportunity to make significant changes to the way childcare is delivered in Australia. We know changes are desperately needed to address accessibility and affordability of high quality early learning and care. Parents were very pleased to see the Government make quality childcare a top priority and are excited to see what will come out of the final report.
Australian parents want more one-on-one attention for their children delivered by highly skilled and qualified educators. They do not want to see this quality watered down for the sake of money.
That is why The Parenthood is urging the Government take this historic opportunity to dramatically improve the delivery of high quality early learning and care by significantly increasing the Childcare Budget.
8/10 Parents would prefer the Government use the additional funds from the proposed Paid Parental Leave Scheme to increase the Childcare budget.
With the Government about to release it’s mid year budget review. Let’s make sure the Treasurer and Prime Minister know how important access to high quality affordable early learning and care is to the children and parents of Australia.
Recent modelling by The Parenthood clearly shows that if the Government chooses to adopt changes to the childcare subsidy as recommended by the Productivity Commission, thousands of families are going to be paying more for childcare.
With under a week to go until the Productivity Commission’s report into childcare is handed down, now is the time to join the campaign and make sure these changes don’t go through.
For example, a family earning a total of $150,000 a year with two children in child care paying fees of $100 a day will be $91.00 a week worse off. A family earning $100,000 a year and paying fees of $90 a day with two children in care will be more than $30 a week worse off.
The reality is that the more you earn as a family or the more expensive your daily child care fee is – the worse off you will be under these recommendations.
However families on lower incomes are getting hit too. A family with two children that earns under $60,000 a year but lives in an inner city area and pays higher fees of up to $120 a day will be $67.00 a week worse off.
Now is the time to act before it’s too late. Join the campaign to fight rising childcare costs for all Australians.
The Productivity Commission’s draft report for the Childcare and Early Learning Inquiry has made a number of recommendations, including winding back ratio requirements in centres and scrapping the childcare rebate and replacing it with a means-tested payment.
Doing this could leave hundreds of thousands of Australian children and parents, the majority of them women, worse off.
That’s why we’re calling on the Government and Productivity Commission to ensure quality comes before cuts in the final childcare report.
Together, we’ve already achieved a great deal in this campaign.
- We’ve gained a commitment from the Assistant Minister for Education to make early learning in Australia a “very high quality product”.
- We’ve spoken to the Productivity Commission on your behalf to reinforce the importance of skilled educators and high quality learning to your child’s development.
- We’ve lodged an official submission to the Inquiry to ensure the voice of parents is heard during the process.
The next step is to ensure all children have access to high quality early learning and working mums are treated fairly if they make a decision to return to work.
Join our campaign today for #QualityNotCuts.