The Turnbull Government will today introduce legislation to make the Australian child care system more affordable, flexible and accessible for Australian families, while implementing the necessary Budget savings to responsibly fund the reforms.
The Social Services Legislation Amendment (Omnibus and Child Care Reform) Bill 2017 introduces the Turnbull Government’s Jobs for Families package, the most significant reform to the early education and care system in 40 years, as well as more than $5.5 billion in Budget savings to ensure the reforms are fully paid for and the Budget is sustainable into the future. Our reforms will give around one million Australian families relief from out-of-pocket child care cost pressures and provide more children with the opportunity to benefit from early education. The package of measures creates a better environment for Australian parents who want to work or work more.
Support will target those who work the most and earn the least. A working family earning $60,000 a year will pay around $15 per day for child care. We will also remove Labor’s cap on the $7,500 Child Care Rebate – meaning there will be more incentive for parents who want to enter the workforce or work more.
The Jobs for Families child care package is designed to put downward pressure on increases through our hourly rate cap, increases workforce involvement for 230,000 families and ensures the most vulnerable children get the best start in life. It also delivers stronger compliance powers to stamp out rorting, building on more than $421 million worth of crackdowns so far. Our package of reforms will also increase fortnightly payments to people who receive Family Tax Benefit Part A by up to an additional $20 per fortnight per child up to 19 years of age. This will deliver more timely assistance to 1.2 million families, helping parents in managing the day-to-day living expenses of their 2.2 million children. We will increase Government-provided parental leave pay from 18 weeks to 20 weeks – providing an extra two weeks leave for almost 100,000 low-income families.
This is great news for the more than 50 per cent of eligible low-income mothers whose employers do not provide their own paid parental leave. To ensure fairness in the system, mothers receiving paid parental leave from their employers will have access to Government-funded PPL up to a combined total of 20 weeks. This is important to ensure that taxpayer-funded paid parental leave is sustainable into the future for mothers whose employers do not offer sufficient paid parental leave.
The Turnbull Government has put in the time to consult with parents, families and child care providers in the sector to lay out a package to make early education and care more affordable and accessible for those who need it the most. The Bill will reflect the Government’s long-standing policy of supporting the role of parents as primary carers of their children through the family payments and paid parental leave system. We will continue to work with our Parliamentary colleagues to pass this crucial package and fix a broken system that is hurting families and taxpayers.