Labor is considering accelerated childcare policies to help families struggling with living costs
Anne Aly, minister for early childhood education, said the Labor government is considering accelerating childcare subsidies to help families struggling with the rising cost of living.
Labor could accelerate its election promise of subsidizing childcare for families struggling amid skyrocketing living costs.
The signature policy would cost $5.4 billion annually and help more than 1.26 million families by increasing the maximum grant rate by up to 90 percent for the first child in care.
All families earning less than $530,000 are eligible for the grant.
Early Childhood Education Minister Anne Aly said the government is considering accelerating policies to help families struggling with the rising cost of living.
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“If there’s an opportunity to do that, it’s clear that the sooner we meet our commitments, the better because of the pressures families currently face over the cost of living,” she told The Australian.
“It is always right and better to meet your obligations before the due date, especially in the current economic conditions.”
However, the childcare sector is facing widespread staff shortages, and vacancies are expected to rise to 39,000 in the next 12 months.
Dr. Aly said one way to address the shortages was to improve wages and working conditions in the sector, arguing that childcare staffing issues are the same as aged care.
“You hear the aged care workers come in with a passion for aged care but leave because of the conditions and the pay and all the other pressures that are placed on them, and the same goes for childcare workers,” she said.
The task of a Productivity Commission review is to forecast policy productivity gains and address structural problems in the industry.
Dr. Aly expects the assessment to begin in the next six months and report to Labor by 2024.
One of the biggest spending measures promised by the Albanian government involved childcare, with Labor pledging to spend an additional $5.4 billion over the next four years.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese previously said the policy would address skills shortages by increasing the workforce and improving access to childcare for families.
“We know that 90 percent of human brain development takes place in the first five years, which is why it’s so important,” he said at a press conference ahead of the election.
“An investment in early childhood learning is an investment in a smarter Australia; it’s an investment in families; it’s also about lowering the cost of living.
“Therefore, the biggest bet we have in this election, which is within budget, is our childcare policy. Our childcare policy was announced in my first budget reply.
“For every dollar invested in childcare, more than two dollars are created in the economy.”