Media Release

Tony Abbott Joint Press Release - Terms of Reference for proposed Productivity Commission Review into child care

The Coalition will help ensure that child care is more accessible, affordable and flexible for Australian parents.

Today we have released the terms of reference for the Coalition’s proposed Productivity Commission inquiry into child care which will identify how we can improve the current system to make it more responsive to the needs of parents.

More than 110,000 Australian parents say they cannot pursue the employment opportunities available because they cannot find suitable or affordable child care.

Improving access to child care will provide parents with more choice, the workforce with more workers and lift the productivity of the nation.  The proposed Terms of Reference include consideration of:

• the current hours parents work or study, or wish to study;
• the particular needs of rural, regional or remote parents, as well as shift workers;
• the out of pocket costs of child care to families;
• rebate and subsidies available for each type of rebate; and
• the needs of vulnerable or at risk children.

The Terms of Reference seek to identify the means by which child care in Australia can further contribute to the needs of families and the nation.  Options to be considered to enhance the choices available to families, within the existing funding parameters, include subsidies, rebates and tax deductions.

Almost one million Australian children are in child care, however many more are excluded due to cost and limited choice.  In particular, parents who work in regional and remote areas and who undertake shift work find it difficult to find child care that suits their circumstances.

The Coalition wants Australian families to have more choices when it comes to the decisions they make about the care of their children.  Parents need more choices as they move in and out of different types of child care due to their changing personal, economic and working circumstances.  We want a child care system that is more capable of responding to the dynamic and individual needs of parents.

We will make child care more accessible and more affordable for Australian parents.  Too many families are excluded from child care because of where they live, what job they take and how much they earn.  Each time this happens, our economy loses the skills and capabilities of a working adult who can make a contribution to building a stronger economy.
Under Labor, the Child Care Rebate has slashed from $8,179 to $7,500 and since Julia Gillard became Prime Minister, the cost of child care has risen by more than 20 per cent.  The promised end of the ‘double drop-off’ never eventuated as Labor broke its promise to build 260 new child care centres.

While the Coalition has welcomed the positive elements of the National Quality Framework, its mishandled delivery is symptomatic of a government that too often rushes and mishandles the implementation of its policies.  We are committed to working with the states and territories to find practical ways to improve the implementation of the National Quality Framework.

The Productivity Commission Review of Child Care is part of the Coalition’s plan for a stronger economy. A more flexible and responsive child care system will lift workforce participation and is part of the Coalition’s plan to deliver a strong and prosperous economy and a safe and secure Australia.

Click here to download and read the Terms of Reference for the Coalition's proposed Productivity Commission inquiry into child care.