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Federal election 2016: Bill Shorten mentions $3bn childcare relief for parents

BILL Shorten has let the $3 billion cat out of the bag revealing working parents earning between $60,000 and $80,000 will secure more childcare relief under a Labor government.

The Labor leader let slip during a campaign debate in Western Sydney that low- and middle-income earners are the target of the new policy to be announced in coming weeks.

It’s the first time he has confirmed he will offer an ­alternative to the Turnbull government’s new, means-­tested single payment for childcare.

The proposed ­income thresholds are also new and had not been flagged by the ALP.

“While we haven’t announced our final childcare policy, what I can say is this: we understand that childcare ­affordability is a giant handbrake on people being able to return to work; we understand the costs are going up all the time,’’ Mr Shorten said.

“Currently, with the Child Care Rebate and the Child Care Benefit, depending on your income and ­circumstances, you can get a rebate of 50 per cent of your expenses, up to $7500.

“What we are looking at is, we’ve decided to adopt the same funding envelope that the Government has.

“The Government’s going to put some extra money in but we’re not convinced the Government’s got it right because they’re looking at certain people in certain income brackets.

“We’re going to try to use that money for people who earn ­between up to $60,000, $70,000, $80,000 ­because that’s where the greatest pressure on childcare costs are.’’

His unscripted revelations that workers earning about the average wage of $80,000 or lower will be the target of the new policy sailed over the head of the Prime Minister, who did not follow up by asking Mr Shorten for further details or how he would pay for it.

Labor’s childcare policy, to be announced in coming weeks, is expected to be a centrepiece of its campaign.