Working parents can breathe a sigh of relief following childcare policies released by both the Coalition and Labor.
Labor campaigned early for childcare relief, including offering a 50 percent rebate—up to $7,500—paid quarterly to parents, a plan to build 260 new centres to cut waiting lists and a proposal to provide 15 hours a week of formal education for four year olds.
Yesterday the Coalition announced a reworking of its existing rebate system by awarding their 30 percent rebate directly to childcare centres so that parents will not be out of pocket while waiting for their rebate to come through. John Howard stated that the Coalition was also prepared to grant $1 million each to 35 councils where there was a shortage of childcare places to build new centres or expand existing ones.
Family spokesperson for Labor, Jenny Macklin, said that the Coalition’s policy didn’t go far enough. "It is certainly not going to put an extra cent into any parent's pockets who are using childcare," she said.
President of Childcare Associations Australia, Amanda Morphett, was also disappointed at the government’s response. “The Government has not announced new measures, or allocated additional monies, to address the broader affordability issues associated with the delivery of high-quality programs for children," she noted.