Grattan on Friday: The 'omnibus' puts government in a tangle and Xenophon in a jam
The Conversation - Michelle Grattan - February 16, 2017

The trenchant stand that Nick Xenophon - who is usually a compromiser - and his team took this week against the omnibus bill, which combines childcare reform and savings in family and other payments, saw a disconcerted government resort to a risky tactic. It threatened taxes could have to rise...

Nick Xenophon defends why he put brakes on 'omnibus bill' and Simon Birmingham argues why he shouldn't have
The Advertiser - Nick Xenophon & Simon Birmingham - February 16, 2017

NXT leader Nick Xenophon has come under intense attack this week, labelled a "self-absorbed politician from a backwater town" for threatening to block $5.6 billion in planned welfare cuts. He explains why he did it and Education Minister Simon Birmingham argues why he shouldn't...

Federal Minister for Education slams kindergarten spending push as "scare campaign"
Herald Sun - Rebecca David - February 16, 2017

THE Federal Education Minister has accused councils and advocates of "shamelessly" scaremongering parents with "mistruths" about education spending. But Early Learning Association Australia (ELAA) says it is the Federal Government causing the anxiety. The claims come as a campaign...

How other countries address affordable childcare
SBS News - Jackson Gothe-Snape - February 16, 2017

From Stockholm to San Francisco, this is how the world attempts to make childcare an affordable way for parents to balance work and family life. Both Labor and Liberal agree on a need to increase childcare assistance - but the major parties can't agree on how to provide the assistance. The...

Anger that childcare package would fail those who need it most
The Australian - Rick Morton - February 16, 2017

Vulnerable young children who stand to gain the most from early education will have their support cut back or axed entirely, while other children whose parents work less will attract fewer hours under the federal government's new childcare package. Children in state-based residen­tial care...

Childcare rebate not enough for families in 2017, Education Department says
ABC News - Alexandra Beech - February 16, 2017

New figures from the Department of Education show 3,600 families hit the annual cap on the childcare rebate just halfway through the financial year. The data shows these families used up all their rebate by mid-January, leaving them with no Government support and full fees until the end of...

Calls for 'backpacker au pair' visa and industry regulation as parents seek affordable child care
ABC News - Felicity James - February 16, 2017

There have been calls to formalise the so-called "backpacker au pair" role and create a specific visa to ensure safeguards are in place for workers and families. There is a rising demand for foreign live-in carers, but the industry remains unregulated and open to exploitation. It comes as childcare...

Taxes must rise to pay for NDIS if welfare cuts are blocked, government warns
The Guardian - Paul Karp - February 15, 2017

The federal government has flagged it will increase tax if the Senate does not pass family benefit cuts in the omnibus welfare bill, citing the need to pay for the national disability insurance scheme. The finance minister, Mathias Cormann, told Lateline on Tuesday that if parliament did not pass its...

Warning on childcare fee reform impacts
Yahoo Finance - February 15, 2017

But he warns higher subsidies might push childcare prices north. "I would argue with a bigger subsidy we'd probably be more likely to see price inflation as a result," Assoc. Prof Phillips said. "If you throw more money and more subsidies at an industry they are more likely to put their prices up...

Each child to owe $100k within three years, Treasurer warns
The Australian - Adam Creighton - February 15, 2017

Labor's counter proposals to restore the budget to surplus rely largely on increases in capital gains tax, and restrictions on tax deductions for negatively geared investment property. While the government's omnibus bill aims to save money in net terms, it proposes higher spending on childcare...

Childcare equation is simple: let X mark the spot where sense applies
The Australian - Judith Sloan - February 15, 2017

More regulation and more spending but so little progress - apart from a massive bill for taxpayers, rapidly rising fees, increasing out-of-pocket costs for parents and a nice little earner for some alert entrepreneurs. And don't you just love his summing up of the current problem: "The main issue here...

Kids boost bottom line for childcare landlords Folkestone Education
Sydney Morning Herald - Simon Johanson & Carolyn Cummins - February 14, 2017

The country's largest ASX-listed childcare centre owner, Folkestone Education Trust, has been busy proving toddlers in their childcare centres have good monetary value as well as being, uhm, cute! It reported Tuesday a 16 per cent rise in profits over six months to December last year, declaring a...

FET turns to prefab to meet childcare demand
Financial Review - Larry Schlesinger - February 14, 2017

The country's biggest owner of childcare centres, the Folkestone Education Trust, has begun rolling out the first of its prefabricated centres as it rushes to fill a record $122 million development pipeline amid strengthening operating conditions and rising property values. In its interim results filing...

Price of welfare reforms too high: Xenophon
Sky News - February 14, 2017

Key crossbench senator Nick Xenophon says his party will vote against the government's new welfare bill because it's 'fundamentally flawed'. Senator Xenophon told Sky News while he supported the government's planned childcare changes, the price of related cuts was too high. 'It would mean...

Cathy McGowan v Simon Birmingham in government childcare reform stoush
The Border Mail - Shana Morgan - February 14, 2017

The Federal Education Minister has accused Cathy McGowan of "misleading" her electorate by claiming proposed childcare reforms would make the Border's mobile services unviable. In an exclusive column for The Border Mail, Ms McGowan said the Coalition knew its "one size fits all" reforms...