Labor is strongly supportive of any improvements to the affordability and availability of high quality child care, to assist parents in the workforce and to ensure as many children as possible are benefiting from early education.
Labor has been clear that vulnerable and disadvantaged children should be at the heart of any changes - because they have the most to gain.
The Government has a track record of making a mess of programs for the disadvantaged, and we don't want to see vulnerable children falling out of the system as a result of short-sighted changes.
The Government's announcement of a child care safety net has left many unanswered questions about which children in existing vulnerable and disadvantaged programs will be covered, and if any will be pushed out into the cold.
In particular, Scott Morrison’s statement that the safety net will be established in the upcoming financial year is concerning, because we do not want to see changes rushed and vulnerable families left without the support they depend upon to access child care. It also appears that Scott Morrison plans to rip money out of the family payments system to pay for these announcements.
Of course, any increase in funding for vulnerable and disadvantaged families to access child care is welcome, but today's announcement is an amalgamation and re-badging of existing programs. We don't know whether the children in current programs will be worse off.
We also can't forget that parents and child care services are fearful that the way the Government is changing the activity test will hurt disadvantaged children.
Scott Morrison's child care safety net shouldn't put one group of disadvantaged children against another for funding - he needs to ensure that every child in an existing program is not worse off as a result of these changes.
FRIDAY, 8 MAY 2015