The Australian Greens have announced that they will take a policy of 'Universal Access' childcare, with a guaranteed minimum of 24 hours of subsidised care offered to every Australian family each week, to the election.
The Greens policy would create a single, means tested payment model with access guaranteed for all Australian families. Whoever wins government will need to get their proposed childcare legislation through the Senate. The Greens would push for this policy to be implemented from the 1st of July 2017.
"Someone needs to stand up and make sure that every child in Australia has access to professional, high quality early education," the Greens' early childhood education and care spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.
"The truth is, families need help and the sector needs reform.
"Only the Greens have a sensible middle-path that will reform the sector, give children access to the education that they need and help parents deal with the rising cost of care.
"With 24 hours of subsidy being made available to all families, the Greens' plan would give mums and dads access to 2-3 days of care a week while helping them to balance the household budget."
Families earning under $65,000 per year would have 85% of the cost of their care covered, with that amount tapering off until families who earn over $340,000 have 20% of their costs covered.
The Greens have also announced that they will create a $200 million 'Reducing Waiting Lists Fund', that centres could apply to access for either capital works, increasing staff or the expansion of specific programs to free up more places in high need areas.
"While the Liberal Party want to reform the sector, their proposal has serious flaws and they've put it in the too-hard-basket, saying they won't be doing anything for years. Labor wants to funnel billions of dollars into the current, failing system which runs the real risk of driving up fees even further," Senator Hanson-Young said.
Implementing the Greens' policy of 'Universal Access' would add $370 million per year to the cost of the government's proposed childcare overhaul. This would be funded through the Greens fully costed platform.
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