Australian Opposition Leader Bill Shorten speaks to the media. Picture: Lukas Coch/AAP
Australian Opposition Leader Bill Shorten speaks to the media. Picture: Lukas Coch/AAP

Query over extra cost in Labor’s childcare pledge

BILL Shorten has refused to rule out that bosses or parents will have pay superannuation for childcare workers who will get a $10 billion wage boost on the taxpayer.

The Coalition has seized on the unanswered policy position, releasing modelling estimating the superannuation payments for the private sector pay rise could top more than $1 billion.

It comes as child care bosses told The Courier-Mail they did not believe they would have to stump up the cash for the super payments.

Labor has pledged to give a payrise to about 100,000 childcare workers every year over eight years, costing the Budget almost $10 billion over the decade.

Mr Shorten said the taxpayer would fund the pay increases of 20 per cent, delivering a pay "increase by an estimated $11,300."

Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten appears on ABC's Q&A. Picture: ABC
Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten appears on ABC's Q&A.; Picture: ABC

However, it is not clear what a workers' take home pay will be because of the answered questions about super, including if it includes Labor's plans to increase the super contribution to 12 per cent.

Asked about who was footing the bill for the mandatory 9.5 per cent super on child care workers' wages, which is paid by employers, Mr Shorten said, "the detail of how we work out the implementation will be done with employers, with consumer groups.

"But what we are doing is making room in the budget to make sure that we can improve the wages of early childhood educators.

"We'll sit down with the childcare operations, the for-profits, the not-for-profits and we'll work it through."

The unexplained policy has been seized upon by Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, who has accused Mr Shorten of not being across detail or caught out by the finer points of his policy.

Government modelling obtained by The Courier-Mail reveals the cost of super would be more than $1 billion.

"Bill Shorten has proven yet again that either he isn't across the detail or he hasn't thought through the unintended consequences of his policies,'' Senator Cormann said.

"Childcare operators - and therefore families - could potentially be more than $1 billion out of pocket if Labor hasn't taken into account additional superannuation payments for their massive wages intervention."

"It's not the first time the Leader of the Opposition has slipped up on this policy. It's still not clear who out of the 195,000 childcare workers will miss out under Labor, or on what basis."

"Labor have proven time and time again they can't manage money."

"Bill Shorten and Chris Bowen should immediately release the details behind their costings so all Australians can see the true details of their half-baked ideas."

Goodstart advocacy manager John Cherry said he was assuming the payrise would include super contributions.