12 February 2007

Katy and childcare

| emd
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Canberra Times has this extraordinary piece of “isn’t she top stuff?” about Katy Gallagher.

Apparently, her first hand experience of the difficulty of combining work and child care means she’ll do a better job with her portfolio.

Except that the problems affecting child care are pretty much outside her realm of influence.

Child care is hard to get because:
a) staff get paid bugger all, therefore it’s hard to attract and retain them
b) limited Commonwealth Government childcare benefit subsidised places mean that demand generally outstrips supply. Without CCB, it’s not possible to run a private child care centre in Canberra, because there are so few people who can afford child care without CCB.
c) The increasing corporatisation of child care centres is worrying some parents. A significant number of families prefer not to use child care centres that are run for profit, after having had bad experiences with them in the past. This is not to say that profit is evil, just that it’s not what everyone wants for their child’s care. And because child care centres are often in high-rent areas close to work, with expensive staff and equipment, it’s hard to get the funding required to set up more community child care centres.

How is a local MLA supposed to do something about this? It’s just not going to happen… mind you, if John Howard had kids under 5 and a wife in paid work, things might be improved…

[ED – interesting this soft focus stuff on Katy immediately followed up her faux pas on water negotiations]

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simbo, you know the old saying “it takes one to know one” and bonfire would know 🙂

Since she’s a girl, can she be a dickhead?

I’d better stop now, as considering alternate anatomical names might get me in trouble…

i believe outsourcing child raising to a third party is wrong.

having teh child babysat for a few hours every now and then is ok.

but you knew that already you were just being a dickhead.

i forgive you.

bonfire, it’s you who believes a “third party” watching your child is bad.

You need to stipulate more clearly what you actually mean as you’ve lost the plot entirely.

You don’t have to ban children from your house to have an intelligent conversation with their parents. How archaic do you need to be?

Just do us all a favour and don’t breed.

oh nyssa you got me, you leap rudd like onto a glaring contradiction.

i walked straight into that one.

oh yeah – i’ll have to reassess all my core values now.

chucking junior into childcare whil i work all day with the lads, its identical to having the kid minded for a few hours of an evening while adults engage in intelligent discourse.


simbo, do you know how much it actually costs to get your childcare centre approved by FACS?

Is the Govt going to assist? Because it is a hell of a lot of money, not to mention a possible loss of income whilst making those changes to the new property.

It doesn’t happen overnight and FACS take forever to accredit a new place.

Nyssa, if this government has given you advice that they may close you, and you’re standing between them and a big pile of cash in the form of flogging off the property, you’d be a fool to sit around waiting for them to make a definitive announcement.

Hang on bonfire, you just said your friends need to “arrange for a babysitter” if they “expect” an invitation to ‘bonfire palace? Did you not?

Wasn’t it in an earlier post that you said:

yes, i must be a low form of life to suggest a mothers love is superior to outsourcing care to a third party.

Ergo you’re contradicting yourself.

sadly, im ‘king of the kids’.

uncle bonfire is a crowd favourite.

and as much as i cringe when one of their little saliva encrusted hands reaches for me, their parents goo and gah and think this will somehow soften my disdain.

the fact that i talk to them like people and dont babytalk children i think has something to do with it. kids seem to appreciate being treated as people, not gibbering idiots or ‘poor baby’.

but generally once people have children i no longer extend dinner invites if they insist on bringing them along, instead of arranging for a babysitter.

a child once smeared nutella on a donald friend drawing. never again.

VYBerlinaV8_now_with_added_grunt4:43 pm 13 Feb 07

Why don’t you set up shop at Bonfire’s house?

potential closing

simto, you’re right there. It’s possible it may close and then it’s possible it may stay where it is.

Until the Govt gives them a definitive answer they shouldn’t be wasting their time looking elsewhere. A simple decision should be made and adequate time allowed to find an alternative site. What if the owners find a new site, set it all up (based on a possible closure) and then find that they are ok at the current site and cannot break the lease?

When will this Govt wake up to themselves?

Parents Need Teddys1:31 pm 13 Feb 07

Just to let you all know… there have been contingency plans, like trying to fins alternative solutions, suggesting them, and then being told that it’s not going to happen. We have looked at other pieces of land, buildings, sites – Melrose was one of them! All in the same area as we are in – cos that is where the need is – and everytime, the Government has said that it can’t be done…

The owner wasn’t aware there was any problem with the leasing arrangements and has always had a good relationship with its landlord – the ACT Government. So when he was verbally told by Minister Hargreaves that a lease renewal was on the way – yes he believed him!

And it was actually 18 months ago, not a year!

schmerica: with regard to the cost of childcare for part time workers, this is how it usually goes…

Child care centres charge $65 per day (or more).
Additional costs for working parents may include parking fees, nappies and food (not all child care centres provide this, and there are cheaper options for stay-home parents), and “convenience” things like buying lunch or new clothes or more take-away dinners (because two working parents means time to DIY is limited).
Many women earn less than their male partner because of the industry in which they work, or because their career stalled while they were on mat leave.
Hence, if you earn less than $150 per day after tax, you’re unlikely to find it financially viable to put two kids in childcare unless you can also get CCB.

And here we have the reason CCB helps keep women in work (and thereby improves national productivity); as well as one of the many reasons that women are not having as many babies as they could.

Alternatively, we could scrap CCB and make everyone pay full cost for child care. But then we’d need more Whingeing Poms (as per the story on school fees for overseas students) to fill the productivity gap by effectively taking women with children out of the workforce. Not to mention the amount of civil unrest and further drop in fertility rate if women realise they really DO have to choose between children and career.

I’m having flashbacks to reading Margaret Atwood’s “The Edible Woman”.

Is now a good time for me to mention that it’s a hard, hard world ?

Business acumen does not start, nor does it finish, with complaining about the situation in which you choose to make money.

My advice; leave the industry, and somebody smarter and better than you will come along and sieze the opportunity your vacancy has created.

Let me get the flow of things right – please correct me if I’m wrong…

Up until about a year ago (when the “terrorist threat” excuse came to light), Teddy Bears were under the impression that they’d have a continuous lease for as long as they wanted.

That changed, and they were advised that their lease was unlikely to be renewed beyond the next year.

Do they do what most businesses do when their lease is not renewed, for whatever reason, and make a contingency plan, using the year or so to forward plan?

Nope, they shove all their eggs into assuming that just complaining about it will magically solve everything and they’ll get their land back.

Yes, it sucks that you’re losing your lease. But businesses of all kinds lose their leases for all kinds of reasons at any time. Suck it up, and find an alternate location. Yes, it’ll be expensive and awkward. But that’s what you’re in business for.

And if there’s a strong need for the business in a particular area, then finding the money for an alternate location shouldn’t be all that hard. Again, I’d repeat, if you’ve got a year to forward plan, sticking to the “if we put our hands over our ears and say not listening enough, things won’t change” process seems exceptionally dim.

Parents Need Teddys9:00 am 13 Feb 07

Yes Simto,

We have known about the closure for some time now. For the centre to move to Souther Tuggs it isn’t financially viable as I said before more parents want to have their children closer to their workplace, so you see centres in Conder and Gordon who are struggling to stay financially afloat – hell even Katy was trying to have her baby in a centre in civic!!! CLOSE TO WORK!!

Teddy Bears were also told the entire time by the Government that when it came time for the lease renewal, they would simply be sent a letter in the mail to sign…. the ‘terrorist threat’ was the first sign of problems!

Well, they’ve known about the potential closing for considerably longer than a month, nyssa. So a bit of contingency planning might not have gone astray…

simbo – you have to find a place first, have it checked for OH&S as well as child protection.

It takes time and money. I’m sure as all hell it can’t be done in a month. FACS doesn’t work that fast, try a snail’s pace.

Hang on, so the Teddy bears operators are that freaking awesome that you’d drive to Tuggernong for them, yet they’re not organised enough to open up another centre anywhere else for their enthusiastic clientele?

Something doesn’t add up there, PNT…

Yes Thumper. Not only does Bonfire not have kids, I’m betting my bottom dollar that he is sitting on a fricking baby boomer bonanza of a house. If he wants anyone to pay the ridiculous price that he will one day ask for that house he better damn well be subsidising the child care for the two incomes necessary to buy it. What goes around comes around B.

schmerica, it depends on what the childcare can offer re: 2 days. Some parents need to work 1/2 days and they have to pay for a full day as there really is no more “occasional” care.

I work full days as part-time in a high school is pretty much all day.

Parents Need Teddys5:02 pm 12 Feb 07


If Teddy Bears moved to Tuggeranong, I would drive down there everyday to drop him off and drive all the way back into the city to work. This centre is that fantastic and the welfare of my child is too important.

I grew up with a stay at home mum and I loved every minute of it. My father had a fantastic wage and my mum could stay at home. She did occasional part time work.

I’m choosing not to weigh into the should mothers work or not, cos some of you are still living in the 1950s

I know that even if you were working part-time you would still need some form of child-care, but it wouldn’t be as expensive if your child only went say 2 days instead of 5, would it? I’m not sure because I don’t have a child. Also, if you want to find a pre-school that has proper qualified teachers and is a well known, highly regarded pre-school, wouldn’t you be willing to pay the extra and travel the extra bit further?

PNT makes a valid point about the current ACT Govt not actually caring about childcare. There was a proposal to sub-lease space at Melrose Primary School to Teddy Bears, until ACT Govt could get around to selling them some adjacent land to build their own centre.

This seemed like a win-win-win-win-win. Teddy Bears gets to stay open, still only 5 mins from Woden town centre. ACT Govt gets the money from leasing space, then the money from selling land. The school gets an entire class of children each year graduating from childcare into the kindy classroom, boosting enrolments to 100% capacity in just a few years. Parents have a single drop-off for childcare, pre-school and primary school, and can then walk to work at Woden.

Instead, we got a brick wall of “no”. Because the land is too valuable to sell to developers.

I say we dump this useless bunch of twits at the next election, and vote in the Party Party Party Party. At least life would be more fun.

schmerica: even part time workers often need child care, for the days when both parents are working. Most govt depts offer part time work rights for WOMEN with children UNDER TWO. So if your kid is over 2, or you’re the father, you can only ask nicely for part time work and hope it’s granted.
And the waiting list for other childcare centres is often quite long. The only ones I know of that don’t have long waiting lists also have a bad rep for how they treat the kids.

Parents Need Teddys4:24 pm 12 Feb 07


I have my son’s name down at other centres. I am fighting for the one in Curtin as it is so close to where I live and work, they have qualified carers who have completed their university/tafe qualifications and my son has been there 2 years now is loves them. Also a lot of the kids he is at kindy with are going to go to the same primary school later.

I don’t want to move him to another centre as Bonfire has pointed out, not all owners of day care centres care about the kids and what they are doing. The owner of Teddy Bears does!

I used to work part time, but I need to work full time now.

bonfire, the same could be said for education – what a waste of money, parents should home-school their children…right?

I chose to have children. I don’t get FTB as hubby and I earn too much and we get 14% CCB.

Ooh, that’s a lot.

As for:

yes, i must be a low form of life to suggest a mothers love is superior to outsourcing care to a third party.

The same could be said for parents who send their children to school – some view it as daycare for 5-18yos.

No mother is a low life for using childcare.

You’re a sad pathetic individual who “hopefully” will never breed. Just don’t ask my children to pay for your medicare costs or Centrelink payments when you’re in a nursing home.

PNT, Why don’t you just move your kid to another daycare centre? Garran, Phillip and Woden are all close to Curtin.

It’s important for kids to be socialised and be prepared for when ‘big school’ comes around and they have to be left alone without Mum or Dad, but at the same time, they need the love and attention that only parents can give. Have you considered part-time work until your child reaches primary school?

into that i read that he is interested in money. his wife stays at home and minds the kids because their net financial position is better off is she does. That they have a sucessful business in childcare is neither here nor there. it the govt changed its policy the difference would be passed on to parents. childcare wouldnt cease overnight.

A very good friend of mine runs a few childcare centers. he views them as nothing more than money makers.

he also said that if the govt changes, and the policy on funding childcare changes – his profit would disappear.

he employs young girls to look after children, the bare minimum required under the legislation.

interestingly, he has several kids and his wife has never worked. so his kids have never been cared for in a childcare centre.

read into that whatever you will.

Bonfire seems to consider it reasonable to sacrifice one generation to the preferences of another. I don’t quite see why a baby’s preference for it’s mother ought receive any more pandering to than anyone else. This staying home with mother/nuclear family thing is a very post-industrialistion construct.

Other than the last brief 100 years or so, mothers have ALWAYS worked and babies have ALWAYS been cared for by others. Whether the mother was busy tending the castle or off toiling in the fields; babies were generally cared for by others.

The claim that mothers provide the ‘best care’ is utterly unfounded and, when you look at many parents today, it seems unsupported by observable fact.

As a parent how I wish that my childcare woes ended when they started school!

Living in a society isn’t supposedly about only paying for you and yours, there is apparently meant to be a broader tribal imperative.

Bonfire appears to have somewhat missed the point.

My wife and i chose to have our son go to childcare since he was 3 months old (he’s almost 1 now) mostly because my wife missed working, and we felt that he would benefit by being socialble with other babies.

I think what people fail to recognise is that our finances (and i suspect a lot of other households with young children) would actually be better off if she didnt work at all. Not because of the cost(after tax) of childcare, but the additional income that she would earn in family tax benefit is far higher than what our childcare centre gets for minding our boy.

So by having our son in childcare we are actually LESS of a burden on bonfires pockets. My wife gets to feel like a valued member of the community and not a drain on the pubic purse, and our son gets to meet and learn from children of the same age.

Never been shy about generalising in the name of a good troll, have you Bonfire? I’ll avoid the handout argument because I don’t entirely disagree with you, but I do feel compelled to ask – have you ever actually been to a child care centre? Or perhaps a couple? Because you surely do seem to know a lot about what goes on there…

VYBerlinaV8_now with_added_grunt3:47 pm 12 Feb 07

Good work bonfire, you hooked a few good sized fish on this thread!

the best childcare is that provided by the mother, raising the child until he goes to school.

you can justify your lifestyle choices to yourself but its really just excuses to justify choices you have made.

ask your son what he wants ? to be abandoned everyday to a coroprate entity where he is child number 34 in a group of 60 kids (or whatever his ‘client’ number is) or to spend that time with his mother ?

yes, i must be a low form of life to suggest a mothers love is superior to outsourcing care to a third party.

im not opposed to govt handouts, to those in need. but this type of ME ME ME ME welare to support your lifestyle choice sickens me.

oh, and im sure there’d be a long queue of people willing to make sure i wasnt resuscitated…

Actually, bonfire’s problem is not going to be that he can’t find anybody to feed and wipe him, he’s going to find it difficult to get anyone to sign his “do not ressucitate” form…

Parents Need Teddys3:30 pm 12 Feb 07

Bonfire, you obviously don’t have children and thank the lord for that!!! This isn’t just all about ME, this is about working families in the ACT who deserve just as much as anyone else. I’m not now, nor have I ever, looked for a handout on anything, I am simply asking that Corbell and the LDA make land available in the Inner South and Inner North regions of the ACT for childcare. i don’t think that is much to ask at all, seems like logical ‘planning’ to me.

I chose to have my son and I love him to pieces, I chose to work to also help support other members of my family who can’t support themselves and don’t want Government handouts that you so clearly despise!

I think you are the lowest of low human beings for accusing me of ‘abandoning’ my son when I am clearly fighting so hard to provide him with the highest quality of childcare. Maybe you could sit down with him and tell him he can’t go to ‘kindy’ any more, that the ladies and gentlemen that care for him so lovingly everyday can’t see him anymore because his centre has closed down, you can tell him that he will have to go without trips to other capital cities to visit his grandparents, aunty’s, uncles and cousins. Yes Bonfire, I work to earn money so that i can give my child the best education possible for his future.

As I said previously I AM HAPPY TO PAY WHATEVER THE COST, I get the minimal amount that all parents get no matter what the income and I have no problem with that being taken away from me.

Think before you open your trap next time and look at the facts, I am happy to provide you with my two boxfuls of correspondence, interviews, research and also the many arts and crafts projects my son so lovingly makes for me at his fantastic daycare!


Bonfire the old folks homes are full of people who said the exact same thing when they were younger too.

Vyberliner with added jam makes a sound suggestion.

simto – if i had come to the point in my life where somone else had to wipe my arse for me and shovel mush in the other end, id do the world a favour and check out peacefully by my own hand.

Shabby – yeah, there’s the biological reality that mothers do have to take a chunk of time off getting the sprog out of their body, and recovering from said sprog removal. But after that all bets are off.

And if you’re paying for childcare anyway, then changing to one parent or the other staying at home is, logically, just a matter of who gets paid more.

PNT (dangerously close to PMT, which probably fuels your illogic) the whacky ME ME ME ME ME ME tone in your whinge is amazing.

5 mins away in case of emergencys ? this is just bizarre – all land allocation policy should be based on your choice to outsource child rearing to a thrid party, but, oh, i need to be 5 mins away JUST IN CASE of the banana slicer not turning up today.

‘ I can’t remember how many times I have explained this to the Stanhope Government and “Land Monger” Corbell, but they still can’t be bothered and couldn’t care less about our plight!’ – because its not a ‘plight’ at all, its some loony softhead ME ME ME demand that clearly has no basis in logic.

‘I am happy to pay whatever the rate to have my son in a QUALITY childcare’ in lieu of raising him yourself.poor kid, probably wondering what he did wrong for his mother to abandon him every day.

‘You can’t tell me I shouldn’t be allowed to work just because you want your woman bare foot and pregnant in the kitchen!’

Im sorry – did I make you CHOOSE to have a child ? Did i nake you CHOOSE to have a job and place YOUR child in care ?

Just because you want a nice two income lifestyle, with all modern accesories, incl child, doesnt mean im happy your reaching into MY POCKET to subsidise your LIFESTYLE CHOICE.

If you want to work – go right ahead – but dont expect sympathy from me because its oh so hard to get decent childcare 5 mins from where you toil in aircon comfort with your three cappucinos a day.

Oh, I’m sure we can shoot bonfire well before he makes it to the nursing home. After all, nursing homes are all about again softheads want to reach into my pocket to support their lifestyle choices(remaining alive despite your numerous ailments being, after all, a lifestlye choice).

I can’t believe I’m digging into the old macroeconomics theories again (who said Uni was a waste of time?), but I do wonder if the reason that both parents apparently have to work nowadays in order to afford to live is that the economy is geared towards this expectation. With two jobs comes increased average household income, meaning that prices can get jacked up because people can now afford to pay more for them. Maybe if one in every two parents stopped working then things would eventually become more affordable?

Yes, I realise that was 90% bull, but I refuse to admit that I wasted a year and a half of my life learning about the invisible hand…

The trouble bonfire is that if we don’t do things to help parents raise children then there’ll be no-one to wipe your bum when you get into the nursing home.

I agree, simto – but there are certain biological realities you have to face.

Parents Need Teddys2:42 pm 12 Feb 07

By the way… Bonfire… wake up and smell the 21st Century!!!

You can’t tell me I shouldn’t be allowed to work just because you want your woman bare foot and pregnant in the kitchen! Get over yourself buddy!

Nope, he’s not a troll, he’s just an old reactionary.

I’m a slightly more modern reactionary, and would say a parent (of either gender) should be staying at home to look after the kids. If the husband happens to be earning less money, it’d probably make sense for him to drop out of the workforce first…

Parents Need Teddys2:34 pm 12 Feb 07

Katy understands childcare – BULL CRAP (I’m a mother so Johnboy I will attempt to tone this down).
I started a parents group for my son’s childcare in Curtin, our group is called Parents Need TeddyBears… our childcare centre is in a building we cohabitat with Emergency Services, we are the parents that were subjected to the ‘Terrorist Threat’ news in the paper and the decision to close us down in ONE MONTH!!
Our parents group has been fighting for 18 months to keep our day care open as it isn’t a large franchised place where the children are rationed food, love, care and attention!! We have met with Katy Gallagher and her office TWICE and I am still yet to hear back from them to hear about what they can do for us. For the record we have spoken with the High Chief Stanhope, “Couldn’t plan a toilet break” Corbell, “Feelin like a catnap” Hargreaves and “Lefty Loon” Lundy.

Not one of them could give a crap about us and our children and have fobbed us off at every chance they get! We were even told that bringing media attention to ourselves would be detremental to our cause!!

It’s great that Katie can take her baby to meetings and into the office with no problems whatsoever, it’s also great her partner can take that amount of time off to look after the baby and that she has a lot of family to assist… there are a lot of us out there who don’t!!

I am happy to pay whatever the rate to have my son in a QUALITY childcare centre, exactly where he is now!

The problem with childcare in the ACT is LAND SUPPLY. Parents want their children 5-10mins from where they work in case of an emergency. I can’t remember how many times I have explained this to the Stanhope Government and “Land Monger” Corbell, but they still can’t be bothered and couldn’t care less about our plight!

So for all of the heartache the Canberra Times is giving people about how great she is… here is the real story: Yes she is a mother and should understand better – BUT SHE DOESN’T – it took her 18 months to finally meet face to face with us!!

On another note, the Oppositions Zed Seselja has done nothing about the issue either – so where should the parents go?? Jacqui Burke seems the only advocate to our cause!!!

VYBerlinaV8_now with_added_grunt2:19 pm 12 Feb 07

Maybe the feds should allow income splitting for tax purposes when one partner stays at home to look after children…

Kerces, if I’d fallen for the spin then I’d be posting to Riot-Act about how wonderful Katy is blah blah blah….

These are national issues, and the Canberra Times editor is publishing a few paras on the opinion of someone who can do shit-all about it.

Bonfire, you’re obviously a troll.

the concat pointed to an article where grandparents want the gummint to pay them to babysit grandchildren!

once again softheads want to reach into my pocket to support their lifestyle choices.

you choose to have children, tighten your belt, do without the latest dvd player and raise a happy kid.

the mother should stay at home raising children until they head off to school.

Yep, it is actually a good thing if a child has one full time parent (of either gender). However, current wages don’t really allow for an employee to afford a lifestyle for themselves and TWO dependants (one wageless adult and one child).

I will agree, though, that a lot of parents don’t quite get the idea that parenting means a big sacrifice – of income, of free time, and, yes, a sacrifice of the possibility of a fulltime career. The payoff for this sacrifice is that your genes get to go on for another generation.

If you don’t think the payoff is worth the sacrifice, well, you don’t have to do it.

In general, to my utter shock and dismay, yep, I’m agreeing with bonfire. The end times should be coming along any minute now…

VYBerlinaV8_now with_added_grunt1:10 pm 12 Feb 07

One thing that perhaps needs to be considered here is that different parents choose different childcare models for their children. Each has pros and cons. Having the choice is nice, though, and something that I as a parent will continue to support.

I think you’d find there would be a severe labour shortage if all parents stayed home with their children.

oh please.

this constant whine by people about ‘lack of subsidised childcare’ shits me.

newsflash – you CHOSE to have a kid.

you CHOSE to raise it.

why should you reach into my pocket to pay for your litle darlings childcare because you cant be bothered to stay at home and look after it.

selfish parents who place their kids in childcare get no sympathy for me, nor should they be held up as some kind of superhero role model.

frankly gallagher would do the community a great favour by looking after her children full time, like a proper mother, instead of outsourcing it to someone else.

they have kids of similar age i think.

more women in politics can only br good for childcare.

Costello says there is no problem – yeah right.

Not saying that I perhaps would have done any different though.

I read this story and decided one of Katy’s staff must have rung up Ms Macdonald for a chat and just happened to mention Katy’s situation. And Emma fell for the spin.

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