1187 families in Hunter electorate set to be worse off under Government's child care package

The Government’s own secret hit list has revealed 1187 families in the Hunter electorate will be worse off under the Turnbull Government’s new child care package come July 2.

These families are part of the 279,000 families around Australia who will be worse off under the Liberal Nationals’ new package.

“This is extremely worrying news as most of the families who stand to be worse off are families in the lowest income cohort – that is families who have a combined family income of less than $65,710,” Federal Member for Hunter Joel Fitzgibbon said.

Under the Government’s package, families will have to satisfy a complex set of rules to qualify for government assistance – with a work test and a means test set to hit vulnerable families the worst. The work test will require families to satisfy minimum levels of ‘approved activities’ each fortnight – which will knock thousands of low income families out of the system.

“This new slug on families is on top of the 18 per cent growth in fees (to March 2017) since the election of the Liberal Government – which means families are on average paying over $2,000 more a year,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.

“The Turnbull Government is seriously out of touch when it claims credit for an increase in fees, and for introducing a new childcare package which leaves over 1187 families in the Hunter worse off.

“Shift workers, casual and seasonal workers, those working irregular hours, contractors and consultants or people working off a roster may struggle to fit their activity neatly into a fortnightly activity test and may therefore miss out on their child care subsidy.

“This completely ignores the benefit of children regularly accessing early education services, further disadvantaging those families who are most vulnerable.”

Evidence suggests that in terms of influencing education and life outcomes, investing in the first five years is highly beneficial as a child who starts school ready to learn is far more likely to continue to learn successfully.

“This is another kick in the guts for families who are struggling with flat wages growth, and facing massive hikes in their electricity, education and health bills,” Mr Fitzgibbon added.

“If the Turnbull Government was serious about supporting Australian families they wouldn’t be rubbing their unfair policies in the face of those families who are already struggling to get by.”

Labor has a proud record in early education and child care reform, including;

  • Reducing the financial burden of child care on families with increases to the child care rebate from 30 to 50 per cent of out of pocket costs.
  • Increased the child care subsidy to $7,500.
  • Invested $970 million to create universal access to preschool for 4 year olds in partnership with the States and Territories.
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