14 May 2020

Broken Child Care System

Ms WELLS (Lilley) (13:30): On behalf of the parents hustling their work and their families on the Northside, the early educators who are working their guts out in extremely difficult circumstances at the moment, and the Northside children who depend upon them, and on us all, to secure their futures, I call on the federal government to fix child care now. If they really cared about this sector, if they truly understood the importance of a child's first five years and the people who are in charge of guiding that education and funding that education properly, they would have had their come-to-Jesus moment at the last election. They would have chosen to take a policy to the election to fund this sector properly.

Instead, when we proposed our childcare policy, they called us a bunch of communists. But now they say, 'Actually, you were probably right and there should be some free child care.' But all they were seeking was a headline, not a solution. If the Prime Minister really wanted free child care, then he should have funded it, and he should have funded it properly, because now he's asking childcare centres and family day care centres to do the impossible.

So on behalf of people like Emma, who works in a Kedron childcare centre and whom I met on that first day when those Centrelink queues were so long—she was waiting for two hours outside Chermside Centrelink as she had been put off as a casual from a Chermside childcare centre; she was six months pregnant and she had absolutely no idea what to do—I say to the federal government: fix this yesterday.