Cuts to Family Day Care - Speech in Parliament

I say to the member for Bass: thank you for that enlightening contribution. Thank you for that history lesson. One of the most interesting elements of the history lesson was the airbrushing out of Real Solutions. Rightly so. I would be embarrassed by its content and by the shameless way in which this government and its members have walked away from the promises contained within it. Let us never forget all the broken promises of our Prime Minister.Ms Ryan interjecting—

Mr GILES: It's a contract, the member for Lalor reminds me. He promised to raise standards of public trust. Of all his broken promises, that is the most egregious. We are one year into this government and the member for Bass had nothing to say about its work. We heard supercharged rhetoric, as we have come to expect, about sanctimony and hypocrisy. These are terms that he should understand well. He talked about promises in the childcare space. I thought that was interesting—not the promises made by the then Leader of the Opposition, the now Prime Minister. Funny that.

There is one thing I should touch on before going to the substance of this matter of public importance. The way in which members of this government treat our early childhood educators with contempt never fails to disappoint me. These are hardworking people doing important work. They can have a go at us; they can have a go at our policies, but the manner in which these workers have been treated by many members of this government is just shocking. This is a matter of public importance, and I am pleased to join the member for Parramatta and the member for Adelaide in arguing for family day centres and recognising the role they can play in making life easier for working families and doing great work in terms of the development of the children in those families.

Earlier today, Labor members spoke about the NATSEM modelling. The thing that struck me most about the NATSEM modelling was what it shows about the medium-term impact on low-income families, particularly single-parent families.

Ms Scott interjecting—

Mr GILES: It's funny, I understand? I am staggered by the contempt for working people that we get from members opposite.

On Monday, the member for Charlton moved a motion that called on the government to reverse its cuts to the area of family day care. In that debate, I was again disappointed by the contribution of government members, who just hid behind a couple of furphies—the furphy that, because there apparently have been rorts, we should bring the whole thing to an end and the furphy that this is not a cut. Well, I do not think we need detain ourselves too long on that point.

Child care is vital for over one million Australian families, including my own. I was struck, as members on this side were, by the Grattan Institute's recent research findings that investment in child care is twice as effective in boosting employment participation as paid parental leave, the signature policy of this government. I am sure the legislation will be just around the corner! It is in this context that we see the government's promises and priorities at large, where PPL again is a significant priority, while promises to improve affordability and accessibility of child care have fallen away. Within this broader context, we note the savage cuts that are impacting on family day care—a $157 million broken promise, putting services at risk and asking hardworking families tough questions that they do not have good answers to, in many cases.

The impact on Scullin will be very significant. There are nine centres operating, all of which are deeply concerned. I have been talking to parents to find out what family day care means to them, how it works for them, and I have been visiting centres. I was deeply affected by visiting Boori Children's Services in Epping, operated by the City of Whittlesea, facing an $85,000 cut. I would like to share with the House what that service being at risk means to the families there as well as to the 26 hardworking professional educators. One of them, Karen, has been there 20 years. She started as a parent herself and has maintained a close connection with all those families in the Epping community, giving them the benefit of the flexibility as well as the close relationship and the high-quality professional care and education that these educators can offer. These are so important to people in outer suburban communities like many in Scullin, including Epping and South Morang.

Family day care has to be a critical part of meeting our childcare challenge. It has been for 35 years. Doing the best for all working families to have choices in respect of child care is fundamentally important to the wellbeing of those families now and to the future prospects of their children.

Let us never forget all the broken promises of our Prime Minister.Ms Ryan interjecting—

Mr GILES: It's a contract, the member for Lalor reminds me. He promised to raise standards of public trust. Of all his broken promises, that is the most egregious. We are one year into this government and the member for Bass had nothing to say about its work. We heard supercharged rhetoric, as we have come to expect, about sanctimony and hypocrisy. These are terms that he should understand well. He talked about promises in the childcare space. I thought that was interesting—not the promises made by the then Leader of the Opposition, the now Prime Minister. Funny that.

There is one thing I should touch on before going to the substance of this matter of public importance. The way in which members of this government treat our early childhood educators with contempt never fails to disappoint me. These are hardworking people doing important work. They can have a go at us; they can have a go at our policies, but the manner in which these workers have been treated by many members of this government is just shocking. This is a matter of public importance, and I am pleased to join the member for Parramatta and the member for Adelaide in arguing for family day centres and recognising the role they can play in making life easier for working families and doing great work in terms of the development of the children in those families.

Earlier today, Labor members spoke about the NATSEM modelling. The thing that struck me most about the NATSEM modelling was what it shows about the medium-term impact on low-income families, particularly single-parent families.

Ms Scott interjecting—

Mr GILES: It's funny, I understand? I am staggered by the contempt for working people that we get from members opposite.

On Monday, the member for Charlton moved a motion that called on the government to reverse its cuts to the area of family day care. In that debate, I was again disappointed by the contribution of government members, who just hid behind a couple of furphies—the furphy that, because there apparently have been rorts, we should bring the whole thing to an end and the furphy that this is not a cut. Well, I do not think we need detain ourselves too long on that point.

Child care is vital for over one million Australian families, including my own. I was struck, as members on this side were, by the Grattan Institute's recent research findings that investment in child care is twice as effective in boosting employment participation as paid parental leave, the signature policy of this government. I am sure the legislation will be just around the corner! It is in this context that we see the government's promises and priorities at large, where PPL again is a significant priority, while promises to improve affordability and accessibility of child care have fallen away. Within this broader context, we note the savage cuts that are impacting on family day care—a $157 million broken promise, putting services at risk and asking hardworking families tough questions that they do not have good answers to, in many cases.

The impact on Scullin will be very significant. There are nine centres operating, all of which are deeply concerned. I have been talking to parents to find out what family day care means to them, how it works for them, and I have been visiting centres. I was deeply affected by visiting Boori Children's Services in Epping, operated by the City of Whittlesea, facing an $85,000 cut. I would like to share with the House what that service being at risk means to the families there as well as to the 26 hardworking professional educators. One of them, Karen, has been there 20 years. She started as a parent herself and has maintained a close connection with all those families in the Epping community, giving them the benefit of the flexibility as well as the close relationship and the high-quality professional care and education that these educators can offer. These are so important to people in outer suburban communities like many in Scullin, including Epping and South Morang.

Family day care has to be a critical part of meeting our childcare challenge. It has been for 35 years. Doing the best for all working families to have choices in respect of child care is fundamentally important to the wellbeing of those families now and to the future prospects of their children.


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