The Parenthood has welcomed the Albanese Government’s first budget for delivering significant early childhood education and care support, expanded paid parental leave and a commitment to make achieving gender equality a national priority.
The Budget includes:
- Funding $4.6 billion to increase the maximum child care subsidy and increasing the number of families who can access the scheme;
- Funding $33.7 million to support First Nations children access early education and care and support their readiness for school;
- The staged extension of paid parental leave to six months per couple and assessment of combined incomes to test eligibility;
- $54.6 million to support child and maternal health; and
- $4.2 million funding to develop a whole-of-government Early Years Strategy and $3.1 million to develop a National Strategy to Achieve Gender Equality.
Parenthood Executive Director Georgie Dent, “This budget recognises investment in early childhood education and care and paid parental leave as critical infrastructure that delivers for children, women, families, communities and the economy.”
“Early childhood education and care and paid parental leave reform are on the Federal agenda because of decades of campaigning largely led by women. This budget reflects a government willing to listen to their voices.”
“An increase in the child care subsidy and paid parental leave has the capacity to transform the wellbeing of Australian children, women and families.
“It’s estimated paid parental leave changes will benefit more than 180,000 families over coming years and 1.26 million families will be better off under changes to the child care subsidy that begins mid-next year.
“These reforms are not just good for children, women and families, they are good for the economy too.”
“The budget estimates the expansion of the child care subsidy will lead to an additional 37,000 full-time employees participating – mostly mums.
“But for parents to be able to work additional days it is critical that action is taken to address the workforce crisis in early childhood education. Action must be taken before the CCS changes come into effect in July next year. We need to make sure that the early education workforce is properly paid and supported. We need to act now to stem the loss of early educators and do everything we can to attract Australians back into this profession.
“There is reason for genuine hope that meaningful, long overdue reform of early childhood education and care is within our grasp. Not just to make early learning more affordable, but to make it accessible to every child regardless of where they live or what their parents earn, and to ensure it is delivered by a properly paid and well-supported workforce,” she said.