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Costello's surplus built on childcare assistance.



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MEDIA RELEASE

 

Senator Belinda Neal

Shadow Minister for Child Care, Consumer Affairs, Local Government and Housing

 

COSTELLO’S SURPLUS BUILT ON CHILDCARE ASSISTANCE

 

Nearly 9 % of the Howard Government’s Budget surplus consists of cuts to means tested Ch ildcare Assistance.

 

“The Federal Government has now stopped over $1 billion in funding to child care since it took office. It cut $820 million in its first two Budgets, including $126 million a year from Childcare Assistance for low and middle income families. Now it has failed to spend $117 million appropriated in last year’s Budget, and has cut $300 million from coming years,” Senator Belinda Neal, the Shadow Minister for Child Care, said today.

 

“The failure to spend $117 million in Childcare Assistance it thought would be needed in 1997-98 confirms that people are leaving child care and failing to take up assistance available to them.

 

“The Government’s new planning system is not about planning, it’s about driving parents out of child care by making it unaffordable. The under spending show that even with Childcare Assistance, parents are finding they can’t afford the cost of child care. Fees have risen by up to $25 a week per child since the first round of Budget cuts and the rate of Childcare Assistance has been frozen for two years.

 

“The child care sector is in crisis and parents are leaving in droves because they can’t afford child care. Yet this Government is so incompetent that it not only makes ill-conceived changes but also can’t even manage to ensure that parents get the assistance the Government promised.

 

“The Howard Government has built a large part of its surplus on mismanagement of an important service to families.

 

“Without two parents working, many low and middle income families can’t pay the mortgage or the increasing school and health bills.

 

“The 15% shortfall in utilisation of Childcare Assistance and the Budget cuts to child care form a significant proportion of Costello’s famous surplus.”

 

Ends

 

Contact:

Belinda Neal 0412 517 520

Toni Morton 02 6277 3095 or 02 6232 7088 (ah)

 

17 May 1998

 

Suite 3, Level 1, 22-28, Edgeworth David Avenue, HORNSBY NSW 2077

Telephone (02) 94821099, Facsimile (02) 9482 1042, Freecall 1800 806 080