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.