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High farce from Government in denial about childcare shortages.



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TANYA PLIBERSEK MP Shadow Minister for Work, Family & Community Shadow Minister for youth & Early Childhood Education Shadow Minister for Women

High farce from Government in denial about childcare shortages The Minister for Human Services today told an Australian mother who cannot get childcare for her young son that she should be grateful for the “choice” the Government has provided to parents.

“Kelly has no choice,” said Tanya Plibersek. “She wants to work but can’t find childcare and is worried about the expense even if she does. Kelly wants to work part-time and wonders whether when she does finally find a place, it will be available on the right days,” said Ms Plibersek.

In a farcical reply to a serious question today, Joe Hockey at first tried to cast doubt on Kelly’s existence, then tried to suggest that there were no problems in childcare availability.

Instead of lecturing the states and territories about their responsibilities for childcare regulation Ministers Patterson and Hockey should fix the problems they are responsible for: cost and availability of childcare places for a start.

"The Government presides over major structural problems in the childcare industry,” said Ms Plibersek. "No amount of self-congratulation can alter this fact.

"The most recent census shows that over 174,000 children are on waiting lists for childcare. That means parents who have to leave paid work when they don’t want to, and parents who can’t return to the workforce when they need to.

"John Howard admits that it is becoming increasingly difficult for families to balance work and family responsibilities. There is another graver problem that the Prime Minister has yet to admit to: many parents can't work because there are no childcare places for their kids," said Ms Plibersek. This flies in the face of all the government’s rhetoric about increased workforce participation. As Senator Patterson herself pointed out in the Sunday Age, “if you increase the number of people in the workforce by 2% it has a 9% impact on GDP, or about a $68 billion impact on the budget.”

Kelly from Mt Druitt in Sydney would like to return to work part-time but can't because she cannot find childcare for her 19 month old son. Kelly has contacted many centres, and was told by one that she can expect to wait another 12 months before a place is available. Kelly's number is available through Tanya Plibersek.