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Monday, 25 June 2018
Page: 6294

Ms CLAYDON (Newcastle) (16:36): Australian families have had to find an extra $54 a week or $2,160 a year for child care since the Liberals came to power, but it's about to get worse. Next Monday, the government's changes kick in, making 279,000 families worse off. In my electorate of Newcastle, 1,400 families will get a rude shock when those changes kick in, and low-income families are likely to be amongst the worst hit.

The new system, which replaces both the childcare rebate and the childcare benefit, sets up a complex web of rules with a strict new activity test. Under these changes, families where both parents aren't working or don't meet the activity test will have their childcare access cut in half. Families earning over $65,710, where only one parent is in work, will have no access to subsidies, and families where one parent doesn't work sufficient hours will lose access to 24 hours of childcare benefit and childcare rebate. These are very likely to be families with parents working irregular hours or doing seasonal or contract work. While the government refuses to act on the massive growth in casual and insecure work, it further penalises these same families by cutting their childcare support. How is it that the government can afford $80 billion for tax cuts for big business and multinationals, but it won't invest in supporting Australian families to access critical early learning for their children?