Information supplied by The Hon Sussan Ley MP, Assistant Minister for Education
It has never been more important for Australians to have their say about how child care can be made more affordable, flexible and accessible, according to Federal Assistant Minister for Education Sussan Ley.
The Productivity Commission Inquiry into Child Care and Early Childhood Learning is currently undertaking public consultation on its draft report, released last month.
This includes online submissions, as well as public hearings starting in Perth today.
Ms Ley – who is the Federal Minister responsible for child care – said the Productivity Commission’s draft report had already generated much discussion and she encouraged Australians to make sure they were heard before consultation closed September 5.
“From backyard barbeques to national headlines – everyone seems to be talking about the need for affordable, flexible and accessible child care,” she said.
“And one thing all Australians agree on is the current child care system is broken.
“Child care fees skyrocketed 53 per cent during Labor’s six years in power as the ALP failed to deliver on their promise to make child care more affordable.
“Australian families should be able to plan child care around their work life, not their work life around child care.
“This is a complex area and there are no easy answers, which is why we tasked the Productivity Commission to undertake the first major review of Australia’s entire child care system since the 1990s as of our first priorities in government.
“This is part of our commitment to making child care more affordable, flexible and accessible for Australian families.
“However, these are only draft recommendations from the Productivity Commission and we want Australians to have their say about how we can deliver real child care reform for families.”
Ms Ley said people could leave a brief comment on the Productivity Commission’s website if they did not have the time to lodge a formal submission.
“Our lives have never been busier and the opportunity to leave a brief comment makes it easier for people to have their say,” she said.
“Over 700,000 families currently use approved forms of child care in Australia and there are thousands more who rely on family and other informal arrangements.
“We believe there needs to be greater choice in child care options for parents.
“We also want to see a system that works just as well for families in the major cities as it does in regional, rural and remote Australia.”
The Productivity Commission Inquiry into Child Care and Early Childhood Learning received more than 1160 submissions during the first round of consultation informing the draft report, including more than 460 formal submissions and 700 brief online comments.
Ms Ley said people could have their say, download the draft report or find dates for public hearings here: www.pc.gov.au/projects/inquiry/childcare.
The Productivity Commission is expected to provide their final report to the Government by the end of October 2014.