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The Burch-Dunne war returns to the childcare front

By 7 December 2011 19

In the continuing stoush between Labor’s Joy Burch and the Liberals’ Vicki Dunne we’re back to the subject of childcare.

Vicki opened up with a go about the cost of the business.

Joy Burch was today forced to admit that the cost of childcare will increase by five times her original estimate under Labor’s childcare reforms, according to ACT Shadow Family and Community Services Minister, Vicki Dunne.

“Joy Burch has said previously that the new standards will mean ‘no more’ cost to Canberra families than the cost of a coffee per week,” Mrs Dunne said today.

“But today, she relied on information from a private sector childcare provider that the cost would increase by between $1 and $3 per child per day.

“This is a fivefold increase of her original claim and means many Canberra families with two children in day care will be stung with at least another $30 hit to their wallets.

This prompted an unusual response from Joy Burch’s office:

A media release issued today by Mrs Dunne misrepresents what Ms Burch said in question time.

In question time today, in relation to childcare costs, Joy Burch referenced a News Ltd story to reject claims by the Opposition that childcare costs will increase by $60 a week per child. The story quotes one of Australia’s leading childcare providers, Goodstart Early Learning, which says costs to parents will rise by as little as $1 a day (and up to $3 a day) under national childcare reforms.

Ms Burch quoted Goodstart national chief executive Julia Davison, who rejected suggestions that parents could be forced to withdraw their children from quality centres and instead rely on unregulated backyard care. “Our view is that it’s a good investment,” Ms Davidson said. “Clearly a lot of families are recognising the importance of early learning and in our centres it’s not a huge fee increase.”

The $1-3 figure was a national estimate from Ms Davidson for Goodstart’s 650 centres across the country, and Ms Burch cited this as an example of what the sector is saying. Ms Davidson’s estimate was not specific to the ACT, nor did Ms Burch suggest it was.

The only modelling that has looked at the impact of the reforms by jurisdiction is the modelling undertaken by Access Economics, which was validated this year. This showed the increase in 2012 in the ACT as a result of the reforms to be 55 cents per day. The ACT Government stands by Access Economics’ modelling as more indicative of the ACT situation.

At the end of the day it’s hard to see how a requirement for more staff with better qualifications cannot lead to higher prices.

More fundamentally than that though one has to wonder why the state is responsible for providing child care from ages 5-18, but not for the first five years?

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19 Responses to
The Burch-Dunne war returns to the childcare front
davo101 10:31 am
07 Dec 11
#1

More fundamentally than that though one has to wonder why the state is responsible for providing child care from ages 5-18

That’s not “child care”, that’s “education”. Not the same thing.

Erg0 10:51 am
07 Dec 11
#2

davo101 said :

More fundamentally than that though one has to wonder why the state is responsible for providing child care from ages 5-18

That’s not “child care”, that’s “education”. Not the same thing.

True, but the difference is narrowing over time. I wouldn’t be surprised if we end up with a school-style public/private model in a few years – especially since child care seems to be the engine room of the economy nowadays.

BethiePrice 11:00 am
07 Dec 11
#3

It is a worry that the cost is going up, but I thought most people get some sort of rebate from the government and get half the out of pocket expenses returned (fortnightly, quarterly or annually).
I myself apprantly eanr in a higher bracket but I still get 20% – a whole lot better than nothing.
For single parents, they get other benefits that help counter the costs of rising child care prices that my partner and I don’t get – which is fair.
Whilst the upfront costs seems a lot is it really so much to pay, in comparison to later years?
I whinge about my $3 increase but I know that my childs carers are better qualified and the she is in qualified care. As much as I love my family and my partners family, they don’t hold 1st Aid certificates,aren’t nutritionists and they aren’t professionally qualified to teach my daughter. They pass on our family values which I appreciate but I also value the lessons that cannot be taught in a single child family or a care situation where there are no children or older children. My daughter is learning sharing and interaction skills with other children, something that I believe is very important later on in life.
Yes the cost of childcare is on the rise, but we tighten our belts in other places, I’m weaning off coffees (I’m quite capable of making my own), I don’t buy things that I don’t need (learning to differentiate between wants and needs) and I buy homebrand.

I don’t believe in huge franchised companies passing on a large increase, but for smaller community based care centres I can understand that need.

Jethro 12:37 pm
07 Dec 11
#4

I struggle to see why parents with two kids under 5 would bother with childcare.

Let’s say it costs $40 per day per child after government rebates. That’s $80, or $400 a week. An adult on an average full time income would take home something like $700-800 a week after tax, or $300 a week after tax and childcare costs.

It doesn’t seem worth giving up all that time with your kids for $300 a week, most of which can be earned back through part-time evening or weekend work.

BethiePrice 2:31 pm
07 Dec 11
#5

Jethro said :

I struggle to see why parents with two kids under 5 would bother with childcare.

Totally agree. If we have another we tossing up the idea of having older bub in daycare once a week. It means that Mum gets one day alone with new bub and kiddy 1 gets a day of playing with other kids her age. To earn some money you can do Tupperware, Avon, any other party things…start your own business etc

Dilandach 3:24 pm
07 Dec 11
#6

Jethro said :

I struggle to see why parents with two kids under 5 would bother with childcare.

Let’s say it costs $40 per day per child after government rebates. That’s $80, or $400 a week. An adult on an average full time income would take home something like $700-800 a week after tax, or $300 a week after tax and childcare costs.

It doesn’t seem worth giving up all that time with your kids for $300 a week, most of which can be earned back through part-time evening or weekend work.

I had my two crotchfruit in daycare for a year. Even though the mrs was working, it was costing us money to keep them in daycare. On top of that, we usually didn’t get home until 7pm which meant that a decent cooked meal was not done as often as I’d like.

AG Canberra 5:00 pm
07 Dec 11
#7

Some Catholic schools are already offering Pre School two days a week and child care the other three.

And Radford offers pre-prep (3year olds) through to yr 12 graduation. That’s a whole lot of years to take fees off families!

davo101 5:15 pm
07 Dec 11
#8

Erg0 said :

True, but the difference is narrowing over time.

But which way? Child care more like education or education becoming more like child care?

Erg0 5:21 pm
07 Dec 11
#9

davo101 said :

Erg0 said :

True, but the difference is narrowing over time.

But which way? Child care more like education or education becoming more like child care?

Child care more like education, both in terms of the approach taken by carers and the perceptions/expectations of parents. The new requirement for some centres to employ pre-school teachers is an example of this.

Jethro 5:34 pm
07 Dec 11
#10

Erg0 said :

davo101 said :

Erg0 said :

True, but the difference is narrowing over time.

But which way? Child care more like education or education becoming more like child care?

Child care more like education, both in terms of the approach taken by carers and the perceptions/expectations of parents. The new requirement for some centres to employ pre-school teachers is an example of this.

Preschool aged kids learn best through unstructured play.

I would assume that trained pre-school teachers know this and that this is the main activity provided.

Heaven help us if we get to a stage where 2 and 3 year old kids end up having to their days so structured that they miss out on this vital part of their childhood.

davo101 1:38 pm
08 Dec 11
#11

Erg0 said :

Child care more like education, both in terms of the approach taken by carers and the perceptions/expectations of parents. The new requirement for some centres to employ pre-school teachers is an example of this.

This may be true, but they will never be the same thing because there is a fundamental difference between them–who benefits. Education is for the benefit of the child; child care benefits the parent who is freed of the child-minding duties.

sepi 1:59 pm
08 Dec 11
#12

Childcare benefits the government as it frees up both parents to return to work. If all families with children had only one parent working until the youngest child was five the economy would be in trouble.

Not to mention that a lot of people would just never re-enter the workforce after 6-10 years off. Certainly not in professional positions.

The government wants parents to work.

I think it would be easier all round if they just ran the childcare centres. Or at least funded them, instead of paying out ridiculous amounts of benefits under about 5 different schemes to both childcare centres and families.

Society is designed to function

Erg0 2:09 pm
08 Dec 11
#13

Jethro said :

Erg0 said :

davo101 said :

Erg0 said :

True, but the difference is narrowing over time.

But which way? Child care more like education or education becoming more like child care?

Child care more like education, both in terms of the approach taken by carers and the perceptions/expectations of parents. The new requirement for some centres to employ pre-school teachers is an example of this.

Preschool aged kids learn best through unstructured play.

I would assume that trained pre-school teachers know this and that this is the main activity provided.

Heaven help us if we get to a stage where 2 and 3 year old kids end up having to their days so structured that they miss out on this vital part of their childhood.

Absolutely, I wouldn’t expect to see child care moving to a structured classroom format – but it does have the equivalent of a national curriculum now (the Early Years Learning Framework), and much more of a focus on outcomes for the children than was the case a number of years ago. As davo says, child care may never totally escape its roots as a child minding service, but as the number of children attending child care continues to rise, the focus on the educational aspects will only get stronger.

Erg0 2:11 pm
08 Dec 11
#14

sepi said :

Childcare benefits the government as it frees up both parents to return to work. If all families with children had only one parent working until the youngest child was five the economy would be in trouble.

This, also.

Watson 2:54 pm
08 Dec 11
#15

Jethro said :

I struggle to see why parents with two kids under 5 would bother with childcare.

Let’s say it costs $40 per day per child after government rebates. That’s $80, or $400 a week. An adult on an average full time income would take home something like $700-800 a week after tax, or $300 a week after tax and childcare costs.

It doesn’t seem worth giving up all that time with your kids for $300 a week, most of which can be earned back through part-time evening or weekend work.

I am assuming you are speaking of experience? How did you go with being a full-time carer for 2 under fives? Didn’t miss that $300 less a week? Or with the evening work after a day of looking after two kids? How did your return to work go after those 5 years?

I probably would’ve been better off financially if I’d given up my job, stayed home and went on the pension when my child was born. Took me about 1 minute of consideration to make the decision to return to work when she was 3 months old. Never looked back.

Jethro 3:09 pm
08 Dec 11
#16

Watson said :

Jethro said :

I struggle to see why parents with two kids under 5 would bother with childcare.

Let’s say it costs $40 per day per child after government rebates. That’s $80, or $400 a week. An adult on an average full time income would take home something like $700-800 a week after tax, or $300 a week after tax and childcare costs.

It doesn’t seem worth giving up all that time with your kids for $300 a week, most of which can be earned back through part-time evening or weekend work.

I am assuming you are speaking of experience? How did you go with being a full-time carer for 2 under fives? Didn’t miss that $300 less a week? Or with the evening work after a day of looking after two kids? How did your return to work go after those 5 years?

I probably would’ve been better off financially if I’d given up my job, stayed home and went on the pension when my child was born. Took me about 1 minute of consideration to make the decision to return to work when she was 3 months old. Never looked back.

Well I haven’t returned to full time work yet Watson, so I don’t know.

I’m not sure if I’ll ever return to full time work, even once my kids are all in full time school.

I’ve gone into detail before why I don’t think it is necessary to have full time employment, so I’m not going to rehash that old debate.

And no, I don’t receive any government benefits.

Chop71 3:15 pm
08 Dec 11
#17

CCB CCR and all the crap that goes with it, then you still pay $350PW to keep a tacker in care. (while the staff are paid peanuts).

The whole system is an expensive cluster …..#$%^

colourful sydney rac 3:28 pm
08 Dec 11
#18

Chop71 said :

CCB CCR and all the crap that goes with it, then you still pay $350PW to keep a tacker in care. (while the staff are paid peanuts).

The whole system is an expensive cluster …..#$%^

Those figures can not be right.

sepi 10:15 pm
08 Dec 11
#19

Actually at a 100.oo a day childcare centre, 350.00 a week per child is about right after all rebates.

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