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Investing in our children helps families, and the community

Media Release
Sarah Hanson-Young 2 Feb 2018

The Australian Greens will move to legislate raising the guaranteed minimum hours of subsidised early childhood education in an effort to help more parents get back into the workforce, and give children the best start they can get.

“The Liberals claim to be all about ‘jobs and growth’, but by slashing the amount of subsidised care hours in half – from 24 to 12 as of July 1 – it will make it harder for low income families to access the childcare they need. If one parent is working casually or is in between jobs, they’ll have to pull their child out of care,” Greens early childhood education spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.

“At a time of high unemployment and stagnant wage growth, it makes no sense to make it harder for struggling families to get ahead. This change punishes parents who do not work full-time, and puts too much control on when they can put their child or children into care.”

Senator Hanson-Young today revealed plans to raise the minimum subsidised hours from 12 to 15, in line with calls from the early childhood education and care sector, and feedback from Australian families.

“The Government banked $1 billion in cuts to the early childhood education sector in MYEFO in December. The Greens want to see this money reinvested to support Australian families and will move to legislate a guaranteed minimum of 15 hours – two full work days - per week of subsidised care.

The average child enrolled in early childhood education and care attends for 18 hours a week. 12 hours a week, which is the government’s new policy, simply pushes up the price for many low-income families, who make the choice between sacrificing more or enrolling their children less. We don’t have to make that choice.

“We know that early childhood education is key to giving our children the best start a child can get. It’s a launching pad for the rest of their lives.

“The Greens are calling on Labor, the Liberals, and the crossbench to work together on making the system fairer for low-income families trying to get ahead, to help build a strong foundation for our community.”

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