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Labor's child care promises will break the Budget.



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Media release

Labor's child care promises will break the Budget

09/03/2004

Labor's child care promises have reached a new high and have left them with only two options - to raise taxes or go into debt, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Larry Anthony, said today.

"Commitments from Labor Leader, Mark Latham and Shadow Minister for Children and Youth, Senator Jacinta Collins, confirmed in a number of reports today, have left the Labor Party with a very expensive bill."

1. Labor will provide at least 10 hours free child care and free preschool to all children under 5 years. Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Jenny Macklin has done a secret deal with Cassandra Wilkinson of the NSW Labor Women's Forum for an even bigger proposal than this. Ms Wilkinson withdrew her child care motion at the National Labor Party Conference because, she told the Sydney Morning Herald that Ms Macklin promised a Labor Government would deliver more than this. COST = A conservative estimate of $3 billion dollars a year

2. Labor will increase child care workers wages. Labor Leader Mark Latham and Senator Collins agree with me, child care workers do not receive the recognition they deserve. However, Senator Collins has let the cat out of the bag today as to how Labor will fund this promise. They

will either raise taxes or go into debt. Reports in the Sydney Morning Herald today say the Labor Party will increase the rate of Child Care Benefit to cover an increased cost to parents. COST = Hundreds of millions of dollars in increased Child Care Benefit Payments

3. Labor will fund capital investments for child care centres across the board. While the Australian Government has a targetted capital expenditure program, Senator Collins has committed the Labor Party to restoring Labor's old child care policies of direct payments to child care centres for capital expenditure across the board. This means that the Australian taxpayer will foot the bill for literally building more child care centres. Given they have ruled out reducing Child Care Benefit, Labor will have to either raise taxes or go into debt to pay for this promise. COST = Hundreds of millions of dollars in increased capital expenditure

4. Labor will remove the 'cap' on Outside School Hours Care and Family Day Care. Despite performing a 'flip flop flip' on this issue and reversing their position in February saying that removing the cap 'may lead to too many child care centers', a report in the Courier Mail today confirms that Labor would lift the cap. COST = Hundreds of millions of dollars in increased expenditure

"It is time that Labor came clean and told us how they intend to pay for these commitments. Do they intend on raising taxes or going into debt," Mr Anthony asked.