More than a million Australian families will soon get cheaper childcare, with extra money also set aside to hire more early educators.
The Albanese government will commit $55.31 billion across the next four years in this month’s budget to make childcare more affordable from July.
The signature election pledge will benefit about 1.2 million families nationwide, with more than 400,000 families in NSW, 302,100 in Victoria, and 284,100 in Queensland to receive a boost.
Treasurer Jim Chalmers said cheaper childcare was a key plank in addressing the cost of living as he battles to contain high inflation.
“What we’ve tried to do is to provide cost of living relief in a number of areas so that we can make things a little bit easier,” he told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.
“Cheaper childcare will make life easier for a lot of families in a way that doesn’t add substantially to the inflation challenge in our economy.”
Opposition finance spokeswoman Jane Hume said the government needed to reign in spending to curb high inflation following the central bank’s rate hike.
“The RBA put out some signals,” she told AAP.
“We want to make sure that we see a budget that isn’t going to make the inflation situation worse. Getting inflation under control is a team sport.”
The government will also set aside $72.4 million across five years to support the training of early childhood educators and the care sector.
More than 80,000 early childhood educators will benefit from the package, with a focus on regional and remote services, and Indigenous organisations.
Funding will allow providers to backfill 75,000 early childhood positions, as workers and management undertake professional development.
Up to 6000 educators will be able to upskill by being financially supported to complete on-the-job teaching placements.
Some providers will be eligible to apply for a share in $18 million in grants of up to $900,000 to set up a new family day care service in an area with limited supply.
The government will also invest $10.9 million to help the social and economic participation of vulnerable people across the country.
Up to 32 organisations nationwide will share in the funding to deliver projects that support young people up to 18, people with a disability or mental health issues, vulnerable women, or the unemployed.
Tess Ikonomou and Dominic Giannini
(Australian Associated Press)