Press Conference – Child care

Transcript
  • Assistant Minister for Education

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
Press Conference – Child care
Sunday 13 July 2014

QUESTION
Okay thank you. So, Minister, should children of working parents get priority so far as childcare?

SUSSAN LEY
Look, I hear the frustrations; I’ve been hearing them across the country, gosh, for four years now. And parents who work do have an expectation, quite reasonably, to be able to find the place they can afford, near where they live, in a work-life balance that suits them.

QUESTION
And do you think that stay-at-home mums are unable to access sort of too much subsidised childcare at the moment?

SUSSAN LEY
Look, I don’t really see it as a matter between stay-at-home and working mums. I mean these days a mum is all of those things and much more in the course of their working and childbearing life. What we do want to emphasise is that the system Labor left us with is broken. And when the Productivity Commission brings down its draft report in a couple of weeks, it will point the way forward. And these are challenges that we’re going to have to face but I am confident that out of these challenges, will come a much better system for the families of Australia.

 

QUESTION
Okay, do you think sort of reducing the subsidies for parents who don’t work, would help parents who do work find those sort of elusive childcare spots?

SUSSAN LEY
Look, the Federal Government funds childcare benefit and rebate principally to allow parents to participate in the workforce. But let’s not forget the other important needs which are the social and emotional needs of children, socialising often for the first time and also the value of childcare for our vulnerable children. And I don’t want to lose sight of that. But I do recognise and appreciate the argument that comes so often to me - that working parents or parents in training for a job, do need to have priority within the system.

QUESTION
And do you believe that the current rules and the current system are stopping mums from getting childcare places and therefore stopping them from returning to work?

SUSSAN LEY
We’re investing $28.5 billion over the next four years in the childcare system. But we’re not really seeing the increasing workforce participation that we need to and that’s one of the indications that the system we inherited from Labor is broken. And that’s one of the reasons why it’s so important that the Productivity Commission reports and points the way forward, which it will in a couple of weeks.

QUESTION
I know that you get asked this question all the time but I have to ask it anyway; will you means-test the childcare rebate?

SUSSAN LEY
Look, there are no plans to means-test the childcare rebate and remember that that’s one aspect of an entire system. We are focused on the whole system looking at everything. When the Productivity Commission reports, there will be lots of policy ideas. There will be settings that will be developed for a new generation as we move away from the 9-5 workforce to a 24/7 economy.

[ENDS]

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