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The Treasurer, the Hon P.J. Keating MP doorstop (Opposition childcare policy), 23 October 1989



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THE TREASURER, THE HON P.J. KEATING MP DOORSTOP (OPPOSITION CHILDCARE POLICY), 23 OCTOBER 1989

T: Well I'd just like to say something about this child care story. What this child care story from the Shadow Minister, David Connolly, in the Sydney Morning Herald reveals is that the Opposition's child care policy is a

con. Everything I said about it last week has now been said, corroborated, by Mr Connolly. What he says is there will be fewer child care places, they will not build the extra 30,000 child care places which is in

the plan by the Government and that the fee relief paid to lower and middle income earners will be reduced by the $20 they give in the child care rebate. So they give $20 on the one hand and snatch it back on the other. As I said last week. Because child care fees can range up to $92 a week but fee relief can go up to

$78 a week. What Mr Connolly is saying now is that "he revealed that under the Coalition Government middle income families would not be allowed into Government child care centres". He said "We'll leave 90 per cent on child care to the private sector and business". So

the long and short of it is they throw people $20 and say you're on your own, find your own child care places and even the number that were going to be built wont be built and you will find private fees and child care upwards of $100 of which people will have $20.

J: Mr Keating, Mr Connolly's already denied the newspaper report this morning saying the Coalition would stick by all Labor's Budget commitments.

T: Well look, the fact is they are in quotes. The story is obviously correct. And now that their story has been revealed for the sham that it is. I mean I knew this last week when it was obvious that they don't believe in Government child care centres. They are not

going to add any places. I mean the $20 will be useless to people if there are no child care places. And they are not about building child care places. They are going to leave that. He said 90 per cent -

there is the quote, in inverted commas - "90 per cent of child care will be for the private sector and business".

COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY MICAH

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J: Well what is wrong with asking the private sector to take that ....

T: Well because they will charge the going rate and the going rate will be upwards of $100 for which people will have $20 fee relief, $20 relief from the Government, a Peacock Government. Whereas under Labor,

fee relief is $60 to $80 a week for low and middle income families. Now if someone is at work, a woman is at work and has a child in child care and that child care is upwards of $80 or $90 a week in cost, the net cost can be $15 or $20. Fee relief is finished under a

Peacock Government. I mean what this story reveals today is the massive con of last week's policy where there was no mention by Mr Peacock in his slick presentation, about not building further child care centres, about 90 per cent going to the private sector,

about fee relief being reduced by the $20 of the child care rebate. I mean that is a sham and a con and every Australian mother with a child in child care ought to now understand what the Opposition is about.

J: Mr Keating, Mr Peacock said that eventually more places will be created in the private sector.

T: At what price? If you can afford it. At $120 a week

and you are getting $20 a week from the Government so you have got a net cost of $100 a week, or $90 a week? That is going to be terrific for low and middle income families.

J: But Mr Keating, the ABS figures that have been published about Government and private child care centres in recent times have shown that the private centres are much cheaper than the Government centres.

T: Well that is not true. I mean the Government centres, we've established an extra 100,000 places in child care. Now it has been this Government only which has had a commitment to child care and child support, not

just through child care but the family allowance supplement and the family allowances, what they are about is privatising business. They are basically saying let the private economy handle it and they will put appropriate fees on it.

ENDS