FEDERAL Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch was today joined by Federal Assistant Minister for Education Sussan Ley, as the Abbott Government delivers on its promise to deliver more affordable, flexible and accessible child care for Far North Queensland families.
The visit by the Assistant Minister comes one week after the Government received a draft Productivity Commission report into child care and early childhood learning.
“It’s great to have the Assistant Education Minister here in Far North Queensland to discuss concerns with local parents and child care operators,” Mr Entsch said.
“Today’s visit allows us to get first-hand feedback on the recommendations from the Commission, which is the first major review of the child care sector in some 20 years.”
Mr Entsch said that flexible and available child care – at a price mums and dads can afford – was crucial for workforce participation in Leichhardt. “Our families should be able to plan child care around their work life, not their work life around child care. Right now, in far too many cases, that’s simply not happening.”
The Productivity Commission will now conduct a second phase of public feedback and input.
“I would encourage anyone with an interest in child care to get involved and have their say,” Ms Ley said. “The cost of child care shot up some 53% during six years of Labor Government*, putting fees out of reach for many working parents. That equates to an additional $75 a week, or $3,500 a year.
“As well as the Productivity Commission inquiry – which we promised to deliver prior to the election – I am also working with my state colleagues here in Queensland and across the country to reduce Labor’s increased red tape and regulatory burden on operators in a bid to reduce pressure on fees.”
Parents and child care operators wishing to comment can visit www.pc.gov.au/projects/inquiry/childcare
*The latest Department of Education figures (Sept 2013 quarter) show the average hourly rate for long day care was $7.65. This figure compares with an average hourly fee of $5.00 in the corresponding Sept Qtr in 2007, when Labor took office.