Questions without notice – 100 days to cheaper child care

Mr BRIAN MITCHELL (Lyons) (14:59): My question is to the Minister for Education. What impact would the Albanese Labor government’s plans for cheaper child care have on family budgets? What reaction has there been to this from families?

Mr CLARE (Blaxland—Minister for Education) (14:59): I thank my friend the legendary member for Lyons for his question.

In 100 days time, child care will get a lot cheaper for more than one million Australian families. We are on the cusp of real cost-of-living relief for more than a million Australian families. Child care is expensive; ask any mum or dad with children in care and they’ll tell you that. They’ll tell you it’s essential. They’ll tell you they need it. They’ll tell you that the cost is going up and up and up.

I told the parliament, when I introduced the cheaper childcare legislation last year, that the cost of child care had gone up by 41 per cent under the Liberal-National government over the last eight years. But I’ve made a blue. I’ve got it wrong. I may have accidentally misled the House, because information released today now tells us that the cost of child care under the former government went up not by 41 per cent but by 49 per cent. That’s their record. That’s why what we promised is so important, what we’re doing is so important and what we’re delivering is so important. It’s why the Prime Minister made this the first policy that he announced in his budget reply speech, and why we all campaigned for it, right across the country.

Ms Ley interjecting—

The SPEAKER: The Deputy Leader of the Opposition, there is a general warning in place at the moment.

Mr CLARE: It’s why Australians voted for it in May of last year and why the opposition opposed it right up until election day.

I’m asked about the reaction of families to the policy that we took to the last election. There are lots of reasons why families voted the way they did in May last year. There are lots of reasons why families in those formerly safe seats of Liberal legends like Menzies, Turnbull, Abbott and Frydenberg voted the way they did, and why these are no longer Liberal seats, why they’re crossbench seats up there; or why the seats of Howard and Costello are now over here, behind me. But this is one of them. Our cheaper child care policy is one of them. It starts in 100 days.

For a family on a combined income of $120,000, with one child in care for three days a week, it’ll mean that they’ll save $1,700 per year. That’s real money that will make a real difference. It means more kids getting access to quality early learning and care. It means that it’ll be cheaper for their parents. It’ll mean that more parents, particularly more mums, will be able to get back to paid work if they want to. That’s why I say this is good for children, it’s good for parents, and it’s good for our economy. It’s only 100 days away.