Mr BURNS (Macnamara) (14:50): My question is to the Minister for Education. Why is Labor’s plan for cheaper child care so important?
Mr CLARE (Blaxland—Minister for Education) (14:50): I thank my friend the member for Macnamara for the question.
The short answer is because the cost of child care has gone up by 41 per cent in the last eight years—41 per cent under the Liberals and the Nationals.
That’s the truth.
Child care is expensive.
Any mum or dad with a child in child care knows that, and that makes it a massive roadblock for a lot of parents who are going back to work or who want to work more hours and work more days.
For example, we know that when both parents are working, if they’ve got two or more children in child care, one parent can lose between 80 and 100 per cent of their take-home pay if they work a fourth or a fifth day.
You’d think, ‘Why is it worth it?’
Not surprisingly, those parents are almost always women.
That’s why what we did in the budget last night is so important.
It’ll cut the cost of child care for more than a million Australian families, including almost 10,000 families, Mr Speaker, in your electorate, about 7,000 families in the Opposition Leader’s electorate and about 6,000 families in the member for Macnamara’s electorate—in fact, on average, about 6,000 families in every single electorate represented in this chamber.
At the Jobs and Skills Summit, the head of the Grattan Institute, Danielle Wood, said:
I can’t help but reflect that if untapped women’s workforce participation was a massive iron ore deposit, we would have governments lining up to give tax concessions to get it out of the ground.
This isn’t a tax concession, but it’s not welfare either.
This is economic reform.
It’s going to help Australians, particularly Australian women, by giving them more choice.
It’ll help them to be able to earn more and to retire with more.
And, for Australian businesses, that means more skilled workers back at work.
According to Treasury, they estimate it will be the equivalent of up to 37,000 more full-time workers in the first year alone.
So it’s good for children, it’s good for parents and it’s good for our economy.
It’s why the Australian people voted for it in May.
It’s why we’re delivering it in this budget.
Not surprisingly, this mob opposed it for two years.
And then yesterday, at midday, they scurried in here and said they’re going to vote for it, but then they proceeded to attack it again.
If they think it’s such a bad idea, why are they voting for it?
We know why—not because they get it; not because they think it’ll help children or parents or the economy.
We know why they’re voting for it, and they’re all sitting up there.