Three billion dollars in extra childcare funding, more funds for grandparent carers and subsidies slashed for high income families are being proposed by the Turnbull government this week.
The reforms would see families earning $65,000-$170,000 about $30 a week better off – but Labor and the Greens are yet to be convinced of the changes.
Legislation for the shake-up will go before Parliament – which is the final week of parliamentary sitting for the year – and will include a new, tougher work activity test for parents to complete before they qualify for care subsidies.
The Federal Government wants to scale back rebates for high-income families and grandparents who are primary carers will be exempt from the work activity test for subsidised care, helping almost 4000 grandparents.
Education Minister Simon Birmingham said the change would would cost the government about $20 million.
But Labor’s Early Childhood Spokeswoman Kate Ellis says that merely reflected the existing arrangements and that grandparents who rely on the Registered Child Care Benefit would still have their assistance cut, the ABC reports.
“One in four families stand to be worse off under the government’s child care changes and the new system will still short change grandparents, despite the government’s best spin efforts,” Ms Ellis says.
Parents have to be working, studying, training or volunteering for a minimum of eight hours a fortnight to qualify for any child care.
“Some families who currently get care are going to miss out, that’s the reality,” Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young tells the ABC.
“The balance here will be just how many families that impacts on and whether it’s going to make it harder particularly for new mums to re-enter the workforce.”
But Senator Hanson-Young says the Greens are willing to consider the proposed changes to rebates for high-income families.
Once families earn $250,000 a year their subsidies will start to gradually taper down from 50 per cent of child care costs to 20 per cent for families earning $340,000 a year.
Last week the Federal Government mooted a plan to abolish flat daily fees in long day care and allow parents to pay by the hour.