Ignore the hype and
the headlines: the Howard Government’s Budget 06-07 has ignored all kids aged 0-5,
again. It offers no new long-day
care places, no assistance with
skyrocketing fees, no policy to
improve quality of care, no Fringe Benefits
Tax removal and no collection of
vital data.

Today, parents are
shocked and disappointed with the government’s response to the national
child care crisis. Currently, 174,000 families are left lingering on waitlists
unable to access child care. Over 160,000 women are unable to return to the workforce
because of lack of access to child care.

Despite promising
help on child care, not one family with a child aged 0-5 looking for access to
affordable, quality childcare will be assisted. Working families have been
pushed aside for another year.

There is not a single
extra place guaranteed, child care won’t be a single cent cheaper and issues
of quality don’t feature at all. Even worse, the federal government does not want to know, and is not even collecting the data
to find out, how bad it is.

On Sunrise this morning, John Howard actually said there is no shortage of child care places. If you live in Elwood
you can always get a spot in Melton! There will be a 1800 hotline which can
direct you there from 1 July 2006.

Instead of new
child care support for kids aged 0-5, the Howard Government has thrown its
full support behind the failing child care market system and they expect private
providers to build more centres (not necessarily where they are needed) to fix
it all up. Costello also says they won’t cap places or sunny days, so that’s
nice. It doesn’t do anything, of course, and it won’t help one bit.

Fees will continue to soar,
quality will remain unchecked, and the government will still stick its head
in the sand and won’t collect data on what the unmet demand actually is.

Effectively, the Howard Government has just said: if you cant get a place, or if you can’t afford a
place, or you are worried about quality – stay at home.

No wonder they need to
pay people to have more children.