The system has several elements and many problems. Making it fit for purpose will take a lot of work and even more resources than those that have just been announced.
Cutting the cost of childcare for families won’t help them if there are no places available at local childcare centres or people to staff them.
The federal government introduced the current childcare subsidy and activity test in 2018. An evaluation of the policy has found it met some of its intended objectives but failed at others.
The government is paying childcare services in hot-spots 25% of pre-pandemic revenue. But without parents’ fees, the sector is still in a tough position.
A report uses an international benchmark of no more than 7% of disposable income spent on childcare to determine affordability. It finds childcare is unaffordable for 386,000 Australian families.
Early childhood education and care centres, which includes childcare and preschool, are part of our village. They form a support network established to ensure parents’ and children’s lifelong success.
If the government really wants to invest in early childhood education, it needs to back the workforce.
One in five early childhood educators said they planned to leave their job within a year. It is vital we design a system and policies to ensure there are enough to meet the demand.
Whether the policy benefits high-income or low-income families matters, but it also misses the point — early childhood policies need to focus on what benefits children.
Labor’s proposed childcare measure would result in thousands of dollars saved per year. And it will make it affordable for parents who want to work more while accessing childcare.
Whether families actually save anything at all depends entirely on where they live, and what provider they use.
The government should increase the childcare subsidy for families on low to medium incomes — either temporarily or permanently. This would involve increasing the highest subsidy rate from 85% to 95%.
We need a new childcare system that encourages women to work, not punishes them for it
The government’s emergency relief package for childcare centres has kept many from collapsing financially due to COVID-19. The transition to other arrangements must be slow and carefully managed.
If schools and childcare centres shut without the necessary support, Australia may permanently lose valuable teachers and early childhood educators.
Quality preschool can deliver $2 for every $1 from government. But families are paying more for it than if they sent their child to private primary school. Some forego quality for affordability.
High income families could get up to $1,080 per year, others $618, but it could still be worthwhile.
Mexico is the second most dangerous country for women in Latin America. Yet the new government is slashing funding for programs meant to protect and empower women.
Australia is far from having an early childhood sector that delivers what children and families need. The government can look to these three areas to ensure access for all Australian children.
If you’re confused about all the millions and billions thrown around for education by the two major parties, here’s the low-down on what the policies actually mean.