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Thursday, 20 May 1993
Page: 956

Senator NEWMAN —My question is directed to the Minister for Family Services. What will be the first full year cost of the Government's home child-care allowance, and will it start on 1 July?

Senator CROWLEY —In this place, I think on Tuesday morning, we introduced legislation to amend the child-care provisions. The question was about the home child-care allowance, Senator?

Senator Newman —Yes.

Senator CROWLEY —Thank you. I just needed to get that clear. The home child-care allowance is an election commitment made by the Prime Minister. It is very important that this election commitment be implemented sensibly, and we are looking at the implementation details of that process. As the Treasurer has said, we are going to be looking at them within the Budget context. The honourable senator has got it wrong in addressing that question to me; it properly belongs to the Minister representing the Minister for Social Security.

Senator NEWMAN —Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. It seems that the Minister for Family Services does not know much about families where both parents are not in the work force. The Minister is clearly not aware of the fact that when the Prime Minister made this promise he said, `It is time to redirect this assistance'. Does the fact that the Minister is not prepared to answer this question really mean that it is not time after all, and that Australian families are going to have to take a raincheck on this promise for a full financial year? Is this not simply yet another of the Government's broken promises? How many more are we going to have?

Senator CROWLEY —To the extent that the honourable senator, having been directed to the right Minister, insists on putting that question back to me, I will reiterate that the Government is not walking away from any of its election commitments but intends to implement them sensibly. The Treasurer has said that we will be looking at those commitments in the Budget context. I suggest that the honourable senator direct her question to the right Minister.