The Abbott Government is poised to spend more than $1 billion on childcare in the first half of next year, with a plan to extend the existing childcare payment into the future.
Key points: The Government is planning to extend existing childcare payments into the first two years of a child’s educationChildcare payments have already been extended for two yearsThe Prime Minister says he will spend the money on a new program to provide “child-friendly” childcare centresChildcare centres will be available on a trial basisThe scheme will be designed to help provide “family friendly” childcare and also to help young people learn more about childcare, according to a statement.
“It will also provide a more flexible childcare payment for childcare providers to work with employers in a more child-friendly way,” it said.
“Childcare providers will be able to work out a more appropriate pay and conditions arrangement with their employer, which will then help ensure they provide a childcare facility that is suitable for their child’s age and abilities.”
The government said it was committed to providing “family-friendly childcare” for young Australians and said it would “revisit” its existing childcare package in 2021.
The statement said the government was planning to “reintroduce” existing childcare services to the program as early as 2019.
It said the childcare program would be funded by a 3 per cent increase in the childcare tax to help pay for it.
“The Government will continue to seek to improve and modernise the childcare system, which is the cornerstone of Australia’s economic growth,” it added.
“This will be done in the best interests of children and families.”
The new childcare scheme will allow families to take advantage of childcare services for up to four children at a time, which would provide some flexibility for parents.
It also said the new program would not “displace” existing services or reduce access to other services.
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