Greens plan to lower childcare fees

The Australian Greens are today releasing their plan to combine the Child Care Benefit (CCB) and Child Care Rebate (CCR) payments and increase the amount paid to some families. The plan is costed at $2.3 billion over 4 years.

Some families, however, would get little new assistance, while others stand to gain more because the system would be skewed to help those who need it most.

Greens childcare spokeswoman Sarah Hanson-Young said there was a clear need to streamline funding mechanisms to provide assistance to more parents who need it and promote higher standards of care.

”The crisis in childcare means fees are skyrocketing and availability is dropping, especially in high-need areas,” she said.

”If Australian children are going to be cared for in centres with sufficient numbers of qualified staff, the government must commit to increasing support to the sector.

”Without increased funding to childcare, families won’t be able to have the high-quality, affordable, flexible care that they need.”

Source: The Age

Streamlining the assistance payments makes sense, but it’s disappointing to see yet another policy announcement from a major party that fails to address the structural problems facing the sector.

For a great look at how the sector needs structural reform, check out this great story from ABC Radio National.

UPDATE: Green’s policy detail now up here.

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Greens to push for new inquiry into ECEC

Ms Hanson-Young said the government could no longer ignore child care, which is shaping up to become a key election issue.

”The Labor government can’t continue to pretend that nothing needs to be done,” she said. ”The sector needs proper funding reform if it is to lift quality standards and meet the needs of families.”

A national survey of 230 child-care centres conducted by the Greens in January found that fees were increasing while availability was declining in a number of areas.

Rachel Browne, SMH (12/3/2013)

An inquiry into the funding of ECEC could potentially be very positive for the sector and for children. The current funding model is heavily weighted in favour of profiteering private operators and makes raising quality standards very difficult.

But history tells us that the inquiry would likely focus on waiting lists, fees and workforce participation rather than the best interests of children.