Budget 2015: Scott Morrison announces extra childcare money for at-risk children.

The Government is planning to spend more on disadvantaged families.

The Government is planning to spend an extra $850 million on childcare for disadvantaged families, children considered at risk and those living in regional or remote parts of Australia.

Social Services Minister Scott Morrison told the ABC’s 7.30 program the money would be aimed at struggling families, communities and children vulnerable to abuse.

Mr Morrison said that while some of the money would come from existing programs, most of the funding for the newly-announced initiative and the Government’s broader families package remained contingent on savings currently being blocked by the Senate.

“That is tied to Family Tax Benefit savings that were put forward in last year’s budget,” he said.

“What we’re doing with childcare more broadly, and particularly in this area where the increases in expenditure are going to occur, well, that has to be paid for with other savings.”

The “early childhood safety net” will be split into three components:

  • An additional childcare subsidy for children at risk, disadvantaged families and those deemed at risk of abuse, worth $156 million
  • A childcare fund to help set-up and promote childcare centres in disadvantaged communities, low income and rural/regional areas will receive $300 million
  • A support program to recruit/train staff and buy equipment for childcare centres is budgeted to receive $400 million

Mr Morrison described the package as “a broad sweep across a whole range of services”.

“The Productivity Commission found this service was quite disjointed and we will be tightening it up and putting it into a childcare safety net,” the Minister said.

Interest groups cautiously welcome reform

Early Childhood Australia CEO Samantha Page said she was happy to see attention paid to what she described as an “important” area for reform.

“I’m pleased the Government is doing that and being fairly brave, it is difficult,” she said.

But Ms Page also wanted to see how much new money was actually involved.


“We need to see that detail to know how much additional money is being put into the system,” she said.

Executive director of advocacy group The Parenthood, Jo Briskey, also welcomed the announcement.

“It’s great to see those children from disadvantaged families will have greater support to access high-quality early learning and care,” she said.

However, Ms Briskey also criticised tying the initiative to a budget measure that remains stalled in the Senate.

“We don’t know whether they’ll go through,” she said, referring to the Family Tax Benefit changes.

The Government wants to cut off Family Tax Benefit Part B when a family’s youngest child turns six and freeze all FTB payments for two years, measures that together would save an estimated $4.5 billion over five years.

“It’s really disappointing that the Government is essentially planning to rob Peter to pay Paul,” Ms Briskey said.

“To say to one group of parents we need to take away your parenting payments to help another group of parents access more affordable childcare, it’s simply unfair.”

The ABC understands the funding is scheduled to commence in 2016/17, along with the rest of the childcare package.

A version of this story was originally published on ABC.

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