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Bill Shorten writes: "Australian families are sick and tired of cuts to childcare".

Australian families are sick and tired of ongoing cuts to childcare under the Abbott government, writes Bill Shorten.

On the night of Tony Abbott’s election, he pledged to all Australians to lead “a government that accepts that it will be judged more by its deeds than by its mere words”.

It is against this that his hollow promises to focus on families in the upcoming Budget should be measured.

The Abbott Government has already tried to rip more than $6,000 away from a typical Australian family. That’s around three months of child care fees for one child alone that Tony Abbott wants to rip out of the pockets of Australian families, every year. On top of that, the Liberals have announced cuts of more than $1 billion to child care that will increase the cost of living for hundreds of thousands of families that rely on child care every day. These are the deeds by which we should judge Tony Abbott and his Government.

As a father who relies on child care to juggle a household in which both parents work, I understand the vital role that child care plays, both in terms of my daughter’s development at a vital stage in her life and enabling Chloe and I to go to work.  That is why I believe, and Labor believes, in quality, affordability and flexible child care – all of which has been undermined by the Liberal’s cuts on the sector without any consultation.

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Tony Abbott has repeatedly shown that he does not understand the cost of living pressures that Australian families are facing.  He has already abolished the Schoolkids Bonus; costing a typical family around $15,000 over the schooling life of their kids.

Meanwhile, his Government clings desperately to a raft of measures announced almost 9 months ago in their first Budget that would rip thousands of dollars out of a family’s budget.

The only thing standing between the Abbott Government and these further cuts is Labor’s resistance – to cuts to family payments, increases in the cost of medicines, cuts to the Child Care Benefit and their latest plans for new taxes at the petrol bowser and the doctor’s surgery.

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Any so-called “families package” from this Government needs to start with Tony Abbott dropping his plan to rip $6000 away from hard-working families and cutting $1 billion directly from child care, while making education, doctor’s visits, medicines and filling up the car more expensive.

Unless Mr Abbott announces that his government will reverse these cuts, then his promises are nothing more than empty rhetoric.

This is not a Prime Minister who has listened to the community, business, or to the experts, or to his own colleagues, especially when it comes to supporting working families. The Productivity Commission last July recommended diverting funding to child care from Tony Abbott’s proposed paid parental leave scheme.

Instead of heading the advice, he doubled down on his “signature policy”.

Tony Abbott isn’t fooling anyone on why he is ditching his paid parental leave scheme – it is to save his own skin.

Want more? Read: “Tony Abbott will have a one term government.”

Tony Abbott said his signature policy “…is going to be one of the defining marks of my leadership…” and indeed he is right.

This is a Prime Minister whose word means absolutely nothing.

Meanwhile, serious questions remain about how the Abbott Government will respond to the Productivity Commission’s final report into the child care system, which the Treasurer has been sitting on for over 90 days.

The Prime Minister is failing families.

Before he trots out more ‘mere words’, he could start by reversing the damage he has done to families that work hard every day to make ends meet.

Bill Shorten, MP, is the leader of the Australian Labor Party, the leader of the Federal Opposition, and the Federal Member for Maribyrnong.

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