On Budget Day 2015, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop explains the Coalition’s new child care package in her fortnightly column for Mamamia.
For too long, parents across the country have been denied important childcare choices due to a complex, inflexible and unaffordable system.
The Productivity Commission’s Inquiry into Childcare and Early Childhood Learning found that the previous government’s system for delivering support was unnecessarily complex, arguably inflationary and failed to target support where it would have the greatest impact.
Childcare fees were continually rising, including a jump of 50 per cent between 2007 and 2013, which was unsustainable.
Travelling across Australia, talking to families in community forums, shopping centres and schools I have listened to the concerns of parents wanting to return to the workforce. Many are faced with the same problem – there has been little incentive to do so, while caring for a family.
These conversations are a constant reminder that the current system is failing many people. When families, and women in particular, are faced with the prospect that returning to work will cause financial disadvantage it is clear that something needs to be done.
That’s why the Coalition Government has put families at the heart of the 2015-16 Budget.
Our new child care package Jobs for Families will provide greater choice for more than 1.2 million families, by delivering a simpler, more affordable, flexible and accessible child care system.
Child care is not, and should not be considered, a welfare payment. This is a key difference between our reforms and the system we inherited from the former government. The package is designed to encourage people to return to work and to stay in work because that provides greater financial independence.