Tuesday, April 13, 2010

What is the Government doing about childcare?

I am very interested in what plans the Federal Government has for childcare. The cost of it is a major obstacle to parents returning to work - and yet Australia is facing an ageing population, and a skills shortage. Furthermore, women now account for nearly half the workplace.

For the interest of CareerMums users, I recently wrote to Kate Ellis and Jenny Macklin about the cost of childcare and how the Government plans to tackle it - see below.

I will keep you informed of the response I receive.

"I run www.careermums.com.au. I now have over 15,000 registered users on CareerMums and we are very proactive in providing information to our users on a range of topics including Government policies.

I don’t believe the Government is doing much at the moment on the issue of cost of childcare – unless you can convince me differently.

The cost of care is going up by more than double the inflation rate every year. The 50% child care rebate will be eroded shortly but the cost increases. There is an ageing population, half the workforce are women, and more than 50% of graduates are women. In countries with more advanced child care systems, 70-80% of their child care centres are owned by Government so they are able to monitor pricing and regulation very closely. In Australia, 70-80% are privately owned. What is the Australian Federal Government’s long term strategy on the cost of childcare? Particularly as childcare costs are set to raise with changes to childcare regulations.

I look forward to your response and I will share it with my database."


Anonymous said...

I would dearly love to return to work, however the cost of childcare makes it unreasonable to return because my entire pay will go toward childcare. I have to wait for my babies to go to school before I could even consider it, or work at night and weekends at a job I don't get satisfaction from. But then I wouldn't get to see my husband. So we plod along struggling financially until I can go back to work.

If businesses catered for childcare aka had childcare facilities on the premises, this would make life so much easier for women to return to work, have that balance of work/career, children/family and a life!

Would that even be a consideration?

CareerMums.com.au said...

You are right - for many families the cost is too much. If you eventually want to return to work, make sure you keep up your skills while you are at home. Stay up to date with your industry and consider doing a course to keep your skills current. Volunteer work is a good option as well to establish contacts, use your skills, and have adult interaction.

In terms of childcare locations, not all employers can have a childcare centre at work. You just have to find a childcare solution that suits your situation.