It’s taken them ten years, but they’ve finally pulled it off. The
sisters, or more accurately, the inner city sisters, have got their hands on
ALP child care policy. These lovers of planning – aka haters of the market – now
have the child care policy they always wanted.

$200 million for 260 centres in areas of “high need”. Where are these
areas of “high need”? The inner cities of course – coincidentally, where the
sisters live. So, the poor mums and dads of everywhere else have to subside the
child care of the inner city. Now that’s good fair Labor redistribution. Never
mind the inner cities have the good public transport, the good schools, the
good parks (eg Callan and Centennial in Sydney), even
the ABC, now under Labor
they will have much more – subsidised child care.

At what cost? $200 million for 260 centres or the equivalent of
$770,000 per centre. Assuming a centre of 100 places, that’s a whopping $7,700
per place. Now, that’s good economic credibility, isn’t it? (Which begs the
question: what are you doing about these type of costings, Shadow Finance
Minister?) Meanwhile, there is $60 million in extra child care benefits which, according to
Labor, will deliver 25,000 places – about a third of the cost.

Little wonder the sisters see this as a beautiful set of numbers.
They get $7,700 a place, the rest of the community about $2,500. Fairness
personified. All we need now is for Anne Summers to host a true believers ball
to launch the formal policy.

Thankfully, the policy has its own checks and balances. The inner city
has them built in. This will be when the child care sisters run up
against their good neighbours, the green space campaigners, and low and behold,
it’ll be a fight of “rights”. Beautiful irony. Can’t wait for the first
application for a centre for the kids of basket weavers from Balmain at Callan Park.

We
got told that there is nothing good in what the Government is doing. We
got told the sky is falling – but that was about it. Chicken Little
stuff – but Chicken Little is clearly short of some ideas. Along with
the roosters.

Peter Fray

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