Push for childcare funding inquiry

THE Federal Government is facing growing pressure from both the Greens and the Coalition to launch a Productivity Commission inquiry into childcare funding.

The Coalition on Wednesday backed a Greens call for the Productivity Commission to investigate the affordability and quality of childcare across the nation.

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said the inquiry should include the affordability, flexibility, accessibility and quality of all early childhood care and look into all Commonwealth funding options for different types of care.

Sen Hanson-Young said the Greens had been pushing for a "wide ranging review" since 2006 when the childcare rebate was first introduced.

"The Senate has asked the government to direct the Productivity Commission to hold this essential inquiry; the government must now respond," she said.

"Across Australia it's still very hard for parents to find a childcare place in centres that can have months' long waiting lists, and if they do find a space, it may not suit their working hours.

"A variety of options must be assessed to determine what are the most effective and accessible ways of funding childcare for families, Sen Waters said.

"The commission's inquiry should cover all Commonwealth funding options and models for various types of care including long-day care, in-home care, occasional care, family day care, outside school hour's care and care for children with special needs."

Minister for Early Childhood and Childcare Kate Ellis said that while the government was always open to debating the next steps in the reform process, Australian families could not wait for a commission to be undertaken.

"Our Government has consistently shown that we're committed to finding even more ways to improve the early childhood education and care system," she said.

"This week we've announced that our Government will triple the investments in child care over the next four years, when compared with the last four years of the Howard Government.

"Others in the Parliament may want to focus on reviews and inquiries - we want to focus on real investments, support and programs that help Australian parents"

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