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Wednesday, 4 June 2008
Page: 4543


Ms McKEW (Parliamentary Secretary for Early Childhood Education and Childcare) (9:26 PM) —by leave—I would like to thank all those members of the House who have contributed to this debate. The many comments that I have been hearing from speakers on this side of this House show just what a touchstone issue this is for so many in the community. The Family Assistance Legislation Amendment (Child Care Budget and Other Measures) Bill 2008 is an important bill. It is a key step, as many members have pointed out, in the government’s plan to equip Australia for the challenges of the future. This is a large commitment, which cannot be achieved easily or quickly.

The government has already announced a comprehensive package of initiatives, including reformed child care, which will boost Australia’s participation rate and improve the productive capacity of the economy. This bill is a responsible investment in early learning and child care. It will help prepare us for future economic challenges by making it easier for parents to return to work after the birth of a child. It will also assist people who want to work to get back into the workforce, boosting the economy and putting more money in the pockets of working families.

As has been pointed out, this bill will increase the childcare tax rebate from 30 to 50 per cent of all out-of-pocket costs. The removal of the minimum rate of childcare benefit certainly ensures that payments to assist families to meet their childcare costs are fair and equitable across the different income levels. The changes provide assistance where it is most needed.

This bill also encompasses a range of other amendments that will enhance the operation of the childcare management system and improve the compliance framework currently in place. We have listened to the needs of the Australian community and we will continue to listen. We have delivered on our commitment to make child care more accessible and we will do more. The government will safeguard this investment in Australia’s future and continue its work to secure the prosperity that all Australians deserve. I commend the Family Assistance Legislation Amendment (Child Care Budget and Other Measures) Bill 2008 to the House.


The SPEAKER —Order! The original question was that this bill be now read a second time. To this the member for Warringah has moved as an amendment that all words after ‘That’ be omitted with a view to substituting other words. The question now is that the words proposed to be omitted stand part of the question.

Question agreed to.

Original question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.

Message from the Governor-General recommending appropriation announced.