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News round-up: Is the tide turning on the Child Care Subsidy?

The Government’s Jobs for Families legislation, which has become the New Child Care Package, became law in March 2017. With less than a week to go, it has become a big topic in the media.

While Education Minister Simon Birmingham has used media outlets to talk up the benefits of the Package to many families, and Shadow Education Minister Amanda Rishworth has focused on the quarter of families who will be worse off, many articles have highlighted particular parts of the package that will disadvantage particular children and families.

It might be coming very late, but it seems that media observers and analysts are starting to question whether the benefits of the Package are as clear as they seem, and whether they are worth the negative impacts.

Here’s a round-up of some of the media that has focused on the new Package over the last week.

Subsidies little help for families. The Australian, hardly known for supporting large investment in young children’s access to early education, published an editorial saying that the new subsidy system has already failed a crucial test and failed to keep fees down.

In news that will shock few parents childcare fees are on the rise. Again. In Women’s Agenda, Georgina Dent highlights that the new hourly fee cap doesn’t seem to have halted large fee increases across the sector – and that the only real way to present large costs to families is to make the system truly universal.

The new childcare package is the final nail in the community service coffin. Advocate and researcher Eva Cox writes in The Guardian that the Child Care Package shows that the Government has “clearly abandoned the basic principle of funding children’s services to meet the needs of children and parents”.

New childcare rules abandon those who need most help. Consultant Lisa Bryant writes in the Sydney Morning Herald that a change to Priority of Access guidelines that has quietly been introduced with the new Package will see children at risk of vulnerability less likely to access a service.

It takes a village to raise a child but the village is missing. In the Sydney Morning Herald Jessica Irvine looks at how the Work Activity Test undermines the notion of universality, and actually discourages women from taking on more paid work.

One comment

  1. This policy is very anti-female and has taken us back to the 1950’s with generally females who chose to stay at home and their partner earns more than $66,000 being denied any access to childcare services. This totally undermines the NQF which is about inclusion and anti discrimination. There will not be 230,000 more in the work force in fact it is the opposite with the barriers of the different activity levels seriously hindering mainly women accessing additional hours. The realignment away from Early Learning is a concern and we are the only OECD country to do so. This package will have long term effects on women and children, why does this government discriminate against children, all children should have the same rights. The industry is really demoralized with the lowering of respect from our own government seeing us as only babysitters for workers. The new subsidy is proving highly administrative for families , services and Centrelink. We are swamped in paperwork and this also adds to the cost of childcare plus the cost of adding all the extra technology to provide all the data the government wants. We need to have a better plan moving forward as we are being left behind in world standards in early education and our education system.

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