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The Government's New Childcare Reforms Aren't Looking Good For Stay-At-Home Mums

"They don’t require childcare because they’re looking after their children."

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Social services minister Scott Morrison is trying to encourage more women into the workforce by removing childcare subsidies for stay-at-home mums.

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Mr Morrison says there will be tough, new "integrity tests" that would change the subsidies that families received on childcare if parents were not engaged in paid employment.

The changes will be part of a families package released in the federal government's budget.

“The integrity tests around this, the entitlements around this, we’re looking to make tougher to ensure that it does the job and we just don’t splash cash,” he said on 3AW Radio.

"The purpose for doing anything is to help families be in work and stay in work," the minister said in the interview with Neil Mitchell.

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"We are not making any new measures for parents who stay at home, if people are in a position to pay for their childcare and they are not in employment that is something that they can pay for.

"If you want to access a childcare subsidy then the whole point of the taxpayer providing it is to help you be in work."

Labor has slammed the government's upcoming families package, with shadow families minister Jenny Macklin calling it a "complete mess."

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In a statement today, Ms Macklin said the changes would create "the ultimate catch-22" for parents trying to get back into the workforce: "unable to access child care without working but locked out of work without child care."


But the government has been at pains to point out that the changes will only affect the childcare subsidy, and not welfare payments for stay-at-home parents.

The Government has no plans to introduce new measures that would reduce payments to 'stay at home' parents. This is simply false.

In my experience all mums work, and work very hard. A large and increasing number are also in paid employment.

payments made to 'stay at home' parents are through other measures. Child Care payments are focussed on supporting families in employment

In a media conference this afternoon, the minister indicated the government would put a cap on the current childcare rebate, which currently covers 50% of whatever price is charged.

ABC News / BuzzFeed

"The Productivity Commission has recommended a benchmark price process and we think that process has great virtues," he said.

"The idea that the taxpayers should be asked to pay for top line services that extend to gourmet cooking classes and Zumba classes and things like that, the anecdotes which have come out in the past, I think the taxpayers have sent a very clear message."

ABC / BuzzFeed

(It is unclear which childcare centres are offering gourmet cooking classes and Zumba classes, but BuzzFeed is investigating whether they will accept enrollments for children aged 23 and up.)