The biggest problem with the new $1.7billion childcare package – as it faces backlash from working parents who can’t access the scheme
- The government will increase subsidies for second children up to 95 per cent
- It will also remove the annual $10,560 cap on the Child Care Subsidy
- But the $1.7billion policy will not kick in until July 2022, sparking anger
A new childcare policy that makes the service cheaper for quarter of a million families is under fire because it will not kick in for another year.
In the May 11 budget the government will increase subsidies for second children up to 95 per cent and remove the annual $10,560 cap on the Child Care Subsidy.
The government says the $1.7billion policy will benefit 250,000 families – but the changes will not kick in until July 2022, more than a year from now.
Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg (right) speaks to a family during a visit to Narrabundah Cottage Childcare Centre in Canberra
The Labor opposition has slammed the government for not implementing the policy sooner, as families face rising childcare costs with an average four per cent hike next year.
Labor shadow minister Amanda Rishworth said changes should come into play as soon as possible.
‘If we are going to actually support women getting back into the workforce as part of the Covid recovery, that relief for child care must come now, not off into the never-never,’ she said.
‘So it is disappointing once again from this government to have a headline, but really some confusion in the delivery.’
Early Childhood Australia chief executive Samantha Page also said the ‘welcome’ policy should be brought forward.
‘We are disappointed that changes are planned to come in to effect in 2022, meaning many families currently using child care won’t have any relief,’ she said.
Labor announced a child care policy in October which would also remove the annual $10,560 cap and slow down the rate at which the subsidy tapers off.
In the May 11 budget the government will increase subsidies for second children up to 95 per cent and remove the annual $10,560 cap on the Child Care Subsidy
Labor leader Anthony Albanese said his policy was better than the government proposal.
‘By only providing increased subsidies for a second or subsequent child in the system, the announcement will make an already complicated system more complicated, and will cause confusion for families as to whether this reform will leave them any better off,’ he said.
‘In comparison, Labor’s Cheaper Child Care Plan lifts the subsidy and smooths the taper rate across the board, regardless of how many children the family has or how old they are – leaving 97 per cent of families – or more than one million families – better off.’
Some voters slammed the government for not making the changes sooner.
‘Another ‘notional’ announcement. No subsidy until the second half of 2022,’ wrote on Twitter user.
‘They copied from the ALPs policy – isn’t due to go into effect until July NEXT year,’ wrote another.