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]