Labor's childcare policy promises billions of dollars to reduce costs for working families.


With AAP.

Labor leader Bill Shorten has announced a number of changes to childcare policy, should the Labor party win the next election.

On Sunday, Labor promised free or almost free child care for 887,000 low-income families under a $4 billion election pledge.

Those families –  earning less than $174,000 – will get fee reductions of up to $2,100 per child off their yearly childcare bill.

Mr Shorten also pledged to fund a pay increase of 20 per cent over eight years for early education workers with $537 million flagged in the forward estimates.

It adds to Labor’s promise to give every three-year-old in Australia access to 15 hours of subsidised preschool.

“This is an investment in early education, in a strong economy of the future and this is an investment in pay equity in a female-dominated industry, a fair award for the workforce,” Shorten said.

Here is part of Shorten’s announcement on childcare. Post continues after video.

Video via ABC

He also warned that if centres tried to “simply jack up the prices to minimise the benefit for the people,” there would be no hesitation in naming and shaming them on

“If we see childcare centres unfairly raising prices we will use the power of the parliament to freeze fee increases and enact price control,” he said.

The Parenthood told Mamamia they are delighted by the Labor promise, reacting with the response; “this is huge.”

“There’s no other way to describe it. Early childhood education is great for children and making it easier to afford is wonderful for parents,” said Executive Director Alys Gagnon.


Ms Gagnon says anytime she speaks to a parent or carer who has a child in early childhood education, concerns about fees come up.

“For many parents and carers, early childhood education fees present a barrier to work, especially families struggling to get by on a low income,” she added.

Ms Gagnon also welcomed the proposed boost for educators.

“These women and men are dedicated professionals who are leaving the sector in droves because they simply can’t afford to live on low wages. This has a huge impact on children and their learning.”

On Sunday, Mr Shorten also said each generation had a responsibility to expand Medicare, which he planned to do by extending it to cover dental for aged pensioners.

Nearly three million older Australians will get $1000 of free dental work every two years under the $2.4 billion policy.

“No policy matters more to me,” he said.

Labor plans to pay for its plan by making changes to the tax system, such as restricting negative gearing to new properties only.

But Mr Shorten is yet to outline how much the tax changes will rake in, promising to release the finer details closer to election day.

Coalition minister Alan Tudge warned families that Labor had “promised the world” when previously in government, but didn’t deliver.

As a battle brews on preference deals, Mr Shorten is not denying Labor officials have met with Clive Palmer to discuss trading vote preferences, but says Labor is not entering a deal with the controversial billionaire.

The Labor leader will travel to Perth on Sunday to gear up for his first debate with the prime minister on Monday.