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.