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Cheaper childcare costs bill introduced

The NSW Minns government's first budget is expected to include a $100m early learning package.

The NSW Minns government's first budget is expected to include a $100m early learning package. Photo: AAP

Legislation slashing the cost of child care for more than one million families has been introduced to parliament.

Education Minister Jason Clare introduced the bill to parliament on Tuesday.

The bill would see childcare costs reduced for more than 95 per cent of eligible families.

Under the new laws, childcare expenses would be slashed for 1.26 million families with children in care.

It’s estimated a family on the median combined income of $120,000 a year with one child in care would save $17,800 in the first year.

Households with a combined income of $75,000 would get a 90 per cent subsidy, while those earning $500,000 a year would receive a seven per cent discount.

Families with a total income of $530,000 will not be eligible for any subsidy.

The legislation is expected to come into effect from the beginning of July next year.

Mr Clare said the childcare reform did not just lead to education reform, but also economic reform.

“If we make childcare cheaper, it will make it easier for lots of women to work more paid hours and more paid days,” he told parliament on Tuesday.

“That means they earn more now and have more superannuation when they retire.”

Lowering the cost of childcare was one of the government’s key campaign promises in the last election.

The legislation would also require all large providers to publicly report revenue and profits.

As part of the bill, Indigenous Australian families would receive extra support to access early childhood education.

Indigenous families would be able to receive a base level of 36 subsidised hours per fortnight under the proposal.

Mr Clare said Treasury estimated the reform would boost the workforce by the equivalent of up to 37,000 skilled workers in 2023-24.

“A key part of this is reframing the national conversation about childcare, recognising its powers and its value as an economic reform and investment that benefits two generations of Australians simultaneously,” he said.

“Early education (is) for a great start in life, flexible support for modern families and a multi-billion dollar boost to productivity and participation without adding to inflation.”

Early Childhood Education Minister Anne Aly said the legislation would help ease cost of living pressures and boost women’s economic security.

“Boosting access to early childhood education and care means more children can access the benefits of foundation years learning, ensuring our kids are ready for a life of exploration and learning,” she said.

– AAP

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