Question Time: Early Childhood Education

Mr JOSH WILSON (Fremantle) (15:05): My question is to the Minister for Education. What is the Albanese Labor government doing to support early childhood educators and to support families in using early childhood education and care? What obstacles have been overcome?

Mr CLARE (Blaxland—Minister for Education) (15:05): I thank my friend the fantastic member for Fremantle for his question. Today, every Aussie taxpayer gets a tax cut: teachers, nurses, truckies, trainees—and that also includes childcare workers. A childcare worker on, say, $40,000 a year today gets a tax cut of $654. Under the Liberals, if they’d won the last election, that same childcare worker would have got nothing—zero. It’s just one example of the difference between the Labor Party and the Liberal Party. Under us, every childcare worker who pays tax gets a tax cut. Under the Liberals, some of those childcare workers would have got nothing. It’s a similar story when it comes to pay rises: 2½ million Aussies on awards today get a pay rise, including childcare workers. A childcare worker on the award wage will get a pay rise of about $2,000 a year. That’s on top of pay rises this time last year and the year before that—pay rises we support, pay rises the Liberal Party oppose, pay rises you might remember the Liberal Party described as reckless.

Today is another reason to celebrate. Today is one year since our cheaper childcare laws came into effect. Remember this is the policy that the Liberal Party described as ‘a disgrace’. This is the policy that has cut the cost of child care for more than one million Australian families. The Liberal Party described that as a disgrace. If you’re a family on a combined income of, say, $120,000 and you’ve got one child in care three days a week, this has cut the cost of your child care, reduced the cost that you would have to otherwise pay by about $2,000 because of our cheaper childcare laws. That is $2,000 less in the last year than you would otherwise have to pay. The Liberal Party think that’s a disgrace. That same family gets a tax cut today of about $2,000. That’s real cost-of-living relief.

The biggest childcare provider in the country, Goodstart, recently released a report that shows out-of-pocket costs have gone down and the people that have benefited the most from this are families on low and middle incomes. That’s how you deliver real cost-of-living relief, not by jacking up electricity prices with expensive nuclear reactors. Tax cuts, pay rises and cheaper child care—under the Liberal Party, none of these things would have happened. Under the Liberal Party, Australians would have earned less and would pay more tax. Under the Albanese Labor government, Australians are earning more and keeping more of what they earn.