"Right now, too many Central Victorian women have their pay packet eaten up by the costs of child care,” said Federal Member for Bendigo, Lisa Chesters.
"Over the last three years, child care fees have increased by over 20 per cent, and out-of-pocket costs have gone up.
"This is an issue that is regularly raised with me when I am talking to mums with young children.
“Too often mums are telling me ‘I've been able to save lots of money now my youngest is in prep’ and ‘I gave up working because of the cost of child care for two under 3’,” said Ms Chesters.
Local mum of 4 and university student, Jennifer Clancy, struggles to afford adequate child care.
“I decided to go back to Uni to get a qualification and hopefully a better job but the cost of child care makes it really hard,” Jennifer said. “I’ve often thought about dropping out and stacking shelves at the supermarket instead.”
One of Jennifer’s children was identified as having developmental delays and the advice was to get him into child care so he would get the stimulation and socialisation he needed.
“You want to do the best for your kids but at $27 per child per day, I can only afford to have my kids in care one day a week,” said Jennifer.
Labor’s plan will take the pressure off local family budgets and help more parents into work if they want to work.
A Shorten Labor Government will deliver child care support that is fairer and will make child care more affordable for over a million families.
Under Labor’s plan:
• Low and middle income families will benefit from an increase to the Child Care Benefit of 15 per cent.
• Every one of the 813,000 families that rely on the Child Care Benefit will be better off – an increase up to $31 per child per week, or up to $1,627 per year, will provide much needed relief for the family budget.
• The annual cap on the Child Care Rebate will be increased from $7,500 to $10,000 per child, leaving families up to $2,500 per child per year better off.
• 107,800 families who would otherwise reach the Child Care Rebate cap this financial year won’t have to choose between paying double fees, or dropping out of the workforce.
"What's also very important about Labor's package is that it will be introduced within 6months of the 2 July election - from 1 January 2017. This will give local parents the child care relief they need now – not in two years’ time as announced by Liberals,” said Ms Chesters.
“This extra support means I could put my kids in child care two days a week instead of just one,” said Jennifer. “I’d get more time to study and get my degree finished sooner – which means I can get back out into the workforce sooner.”
"I know Labor's announcement will not fix the many structural issues we are facing within the early childhood and education sector however, it's a start.
"While we work with experts and the sector to formalise the very best long-term reforms, a Labor Government will deliver child care fee relief that families need now – they should not have to wait any longer,” said Ms Chesters.