East hit hardest by childcare changes

But Perth MHR Alannah MacTiernan said the supposed increase was effectively a cut to living standards.

Mr Wyatt said a lower-|income family, with one child in full-time care, could receive up to $264 extra this year in childcare benefit alone.

‘It will help take some of the pressure off working families as we continue to tackle the broader issue of making childcare more affordable, flexible and accessible through our Productivity Commission Inquiry.

‘We are working closely with states and territories to cut unnecessary and excessive childcare red tape, to reduce pressure on fees for parents and childcare services alike.’

The Abbott Government said it was increasing overall spending on childcare fee assistance to $28.5 billion over the next four years for about a million families.

The Productivity Commission Inquiry’s draft report is due this month, with the final report due in October.

The Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for WA, Ms |MacTiernan said there were more than 36,000 low-income WA families who would be worse off under the changes.

Legislation currently before the Parliament will cut the Child Care Benefit, a means-tested payment to low and middle-income families to assist with childcare costs.

This cut will hit families earning $42,000 a year.

‘This is not keeping up with CPI and no government ever has put a freeze on benefits to make a lower rate of childcare rebate for parents,’ she said.

‘If they are giving so much back, why is there a $230 million saving in the budget papers in this area?’

Perth’s eastern suburbs will be hit the hardest, with Hasluck, the area most reliant on the childcare benefit in WA, the most vulnerable, Ms MacTiernan said.

‘This is an unprecedented attack; no previous government has ever moved to cut or freeze the childcare benefit.’

Ms MacTiernan said she did not know how Mr Wyatt explained the savings, which she described as ‘a direct attack on those WA families who can least afford it’.

‘It’s nonsense and he is holding down the threshold so fewer people are eligible and will go on to a lesser band for rebate.’

She said the Education Department had confirmed that 500,000 low and middle-income families would be worse off as a result.