Anthony Albanese pledges big savings on childcare

Labor leader Anthony Albanese’s big budget pitch on childcare tonight could leave some parents with out-of-pocket costs as little as $10 a day.

Mr Albanese will pledge to cover up to 90 per cent of the cost of childcare, for low income families, lifting the current subsidy from the maximum amount of 85 per cent of costs.

But the cost of living relief will also be offered to the vast majority of families with Labor pledging the changes will leave 97 per cent of families better off.

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Based on childcare costs of $110 a day, the proposed new maximum subsidy of 90 per cent would deliver thousands of families on low incomes childcare for as little as $10-a day.

But the plan has stopped short of delivering “free” childcare for low income families because childcare providers argue it creates an incentive to only use it when they need to go to work.

The childcare subsidies will also be offered to all parents unless they have a combined family income of $500,000 a year, a more generous income limit than the current arrangements for high income earners.

However, a taper rate will apply based on income with the subsidy reducing from 90 per cent for low income earners before it phases down to zero for families that earn $500,000.

In parliament, Labor leader Anthony Albanese hammered the Prime Minister over the failure to tackle child care in the budget.

“The Budget had nothing additional for child care. Why is this Prime Minister punishing parents for working an extra hour or an extra day when they’re just trying to get ahead during the Morrison recession?,’’ he asked.

But the Prime Minister hit back accusing Labor of allowing fees to rise under their watch.

“Now, we know that under Labor childcare fees actually increased by 53 per cent when they were in Government,’’ he said.

“It was a complete muddle, the policy under those opposite.”

“The Leader of the Opposition has an each-way bet on everything, Mr Speaker. He would go for a win and a place in a two-horserace, Mr Speaker. That’s what this Leader of the Opposition is about. He is the biggest each-way operator that we’ve seen come in this place, Mr Speaker. He’s for everything and he’s against everything, at exactly the same time.”

Labor has closely examined a Grattan Institute plan to cover 95 per cent of the cost of childcare for low income earners.

“Under this scheme, 60 per cent of families would pay less than $20 per day per child for childcare, and no family would be worse off,’’ the Grattan report states.

“The childcare subsidy for low-income families should be raised from 85 per cent to 95 per cent, gradually tapering for households with income above $68,000.”

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