Child care cut could harm low earners

Blaxland MP Jason Clare and ALP acting spokeswoman for child care Amanda Rishworth with children at the South Granville child care centre. Picture: Anna Warr.

Blaxland MP Jason Clare and ALP acting spokeswoman for child care Amanda Rishworth with children at the South Granville child care centre. Picture: Anna Warr.

Proposed cuts to the child care benefit could leave about 95 per cent of the families who use South Granville’s Little School for Little Children child care centre worse off, says director Rana Ahmed.

Ms Ahmed, an early childhood teacher of about 13 years, hosted federal Blaxland MP Jason Clare and the ALP’s acting child care spokeswoman Amanda Rishworth today to discuss the potential impact of federal government plans to change the means-tested child care beneift thresholds for Australian families.

“About 95 per cent of my parents use a child care benefit,” Ms Ahmed said.

“We’ve got a lot of families of a low socio-economic background who rely on that child care benefit to put their children into child care.”

She said a full day of child care at the centre costs $80, which is reduced to about $32.71 upfront for low income families receiving the full benefit.

“These families can’t fork out $80 a day, so it’s going to affect childcare businesses as well; it’s going to affect our staffing.”

Ms Rishworth told the Sun the government had “admitted” the $230 million cut to the child care benefit currently before the parliament would leave half a million Australian families out of pocket.

“Those on as little as $42,000 get their rebate amount decreasing as child care costs go up. The gap will be growing over time,” Ms Rishworth said.

“Eight out of the 10 electorates that have the highest number of families that rely on the child care benefit are in western Sydney

“It will be difficult for families to make the choice about whether they can go back to work.

“It will be a difficult decision for women.”

Child care assistant Pauline Yousif, 23, told the Sun staff had been warned if the changes went ahead they may eventually be out of work.

“It’s a bit daunting, because it’s not like it’s only going to affect our child care centre. We love our jobs and I can’t see myself doing anything else.”

Federal assistant minister for education Sussan Ley accused the Labor Party of a "desperate and cynical attempt" to mislead families as part of a "misinformation campaign" and that the standard rate of the benefit families receive actually increased by the CPI on July 7.

"This could see up to $264 extra in child care benefit alone for a low-income family with one child in full-time care this year," Ms Ley said.

"In fact, the Abbott government will increase overall investment in the child care benefit and child care rebate to $28.5 billion over the next four years for around a million families.

"To imply a proposed temporary Budget measure maintaining income thresholds for the means-tested child care benefit at existing levels will apply to all families receiving the child care benefit is incorrect."



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