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Does Canberra need cheaper childcare?

emd 22 September 2010 43

The ACT Business Woman of the Year for 2010, Kate Sykes, has told ABC News that the Federal Government needs to implement policies that make childcare cheaper. With childcare centres costing over $75 per child, per day in Canberra, it’s not hard to see why a parent with a low income job struggles to justify their return to the workforce. Particularly if they have more than one child under school age. That is, if you can actually get childcare. I am an employer myself, and most of the parents who work for me find it easier to just bring the kids to work than to wait forever on childcare waiting lists. And it’s not just a women’s issue – men are now eligible for paid parental leave from 2011, which means more men may soon be considering “return to the workforce” issues.

Kate Sykes isn’t just an opinionated woman spouting off. She actually knows a few things about childcare and women getting back into the workforce. She is the owner of CareerMums, a specialist recruitment service for women getting back into the workforce after having children. She has also written manuals and guides for large workplaces wanting to implement family friendly work practices. And she is chair of Canberra Business Council’s workstyles committee, promoting flexible workplaces. And with Kate Ellis as the new Minister for the Status of Women, as well as Minister for Employment Participation and Child Care, perhaps this is a good time to be talking about Federal policies on childcare costs.

The question is, do you agree with her? I know I do! But I don’t want cheaper childcare at the expense of cutting childcare workers wages. I believe they are already underpaid given the years of tertiary study and level of responsibility they have.


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43 Responses to
Does Canberra need cheaper childcare?
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screaming banshee 8:00 pm 08 Oct 10

Not the only area that needs to be reviewed gg, we have become a middle-class welfare nation and its got to stop.

For heavens sake if all the stupid welfare was binned, not only would the govt save those dollars, but the dollars spent in administrating the systems. All these savings could go into tax reform which could be structured in most cases to leave middle class disposable income about par and relieving pressure on low income earners.

georgesgenitals 2:31 pm 05 Oct 10

I think we should remove the non means tested rebate, because there are families (like mine) getting a benefit who really don’t need it. The government sends us about 8 thousand bucks a year for having our little guy in childcare, and this could be much better used to help support lower income earners.

busgirl 1:56 pm 05 Oct 10

sepi said :

Of course everyone who has their kids in childcare only has to work to support smoking and a mcmansion.
Silly me.

Yes, just like everyone who doesn’t have their children in childcare are stuck-up snobs with holier-than-thou attitudes. Silly you indeed.

sepi 10:33 am 02 Oct 10

Of course everyone who has their kids in childcare only has to work to support smoking and a mcmansion.
Silly me.

screaming banshee 10:51 pm 01 Oct 10

colourful sydney racing identity said :

Well aren’t you in a lucky priviliged position.

If you mean by making sure we can afford not to put our kids in childcare then yes I guess that I am.

On the other side I drive an old van, our house is quite small and in dire need of an update and our one and only television is a mere 32″. We rarely eat out and probably haven’t spent more than $200 on clothes for ourselves all year.

It all comes down to priorities, if you prefer to spend your money buying a big car, big house, and big TV and going out/drinking/smoking lots then dont come whinging to me about childcare being expensive.

Grail 1:11 pm 27 Sep 10

We could make childcare more affordable by adding a new tax to childless dual-income couples. How’s that for expressing socialist ideals through the capitalist system?

Of course, in keeping with the yet-to-be-proposed “2 child per family” population policy, the cheaper childcare would only apply to the first 2 children. After that you’re on your own.

Just remember to ask the important question: “Where’s the money coming from?” It should cost $100/day for childcare, assuming you want childcare workers to stay in the industry and not move to somewhere where they’re paid for their skills. $100/day from 10 children covers the salary of the carer, the workplace expenses, insurances and temporary employment of replacement workers when the employee goes on leave/is sick/quits this crappy job looking after everyone else’s snotty-nosed brats.

Would you look after 10 children for a salary of $30kpa?

One way of making childcare more affordable is to reduce the cost of a mortgage, for example taking negative gearing away from investors and giving it to owner-occupiers. But that’s a different troll topic for a different troll thread.

sepi 1:20 pm 24 Sep 10

There is ‘family day care’ which is daddy daycare type care for up to 5 kids in someone’s home.

Homes have to be inspected for safety, etc.

The ratio of children to carer is about to be reduced from 5 to 4, so i imagine less of these will be around soon as well.

The government seems to be tackling all the wrong things with childcare – obsessing about carer’s qualifications, and making life harder for family day carers is only going to make the chronic childcare shortage worse.

sepi 1:18 pm 24 Sep 10

The main reason for working for a lot of people is to retain a decent part time job, for the future.

Winning a part time job is almost impossible, especially after years out of the workforce.

I don’t think non-working parents are using up that many childcare spots.

astrojax 12:55 pm 24 Sep 10

Genie said :

2. If you cant afford to put your kids in child care, stay at home with them. I used to work with a chick who spent her entire after tax income on child care, what was the point !?

relevant and contemporary work experience to abet her cause for future promotion?

Genie 12:28 pm 24 Sep 10

1. Child care workers only earn about $30-35k a a year.

2. If you cant afford to put your kids in child care, stay at home with them. I used to work with a chick who spent her entire after tax income on child care, what was the point !?

3. Childcare could be significantly cheaper if the government would approve people to have centres in their own home. (eg Daddy Day Care style for up to 10ish kids)

4. See about having both parents work part-time

5. Expel all the kids from day care for parents who DONT work ! Harsh I know, but if you dont want to get off your dole-bludging arse and work, dont about Centrelink further by getting them to put your kids in daycare.

screaming banshee said :

Jim Jones said :

Most people can’t afford to do that anymore. I’d certainly prefer to be a stay at home dad.

Most people choose not to afford that anymore.

We’ve chosen for the wife to look after the kids and its so great that she can spend days taking them to playgrounds, playgroups, story time, swimming lessons and much more.

I cant imagine how it must be to have your kids know their day-carer better than they know you.

Well aren’t you in a lucky priviliged position.

In response to your comment ‘I cant imagine how it must be to have your kids know their day-carer better than they know you’, get stuffed.

Jim Jones 9:29 am 24 Sep 10

sepi said :

I can’t imagine how it must be for the kids to know the wife so much better than they know you.

I can’t imagine what it must be like living in such a deluded middle-class bubble that you could believe that all families can live on a single income.

Seriously, get your head out of your ass, screaming banshee. That’s not only profoundly ignorant, it’s deeply deeply offensive: “I can afford to raise children with a single budget, so everyone who can’t is just being selfish.”

What an appallingly self-righteous attitude.

sepi 10:16 pm 23 Sep 10

I can’t imagine how it must be for the kids to know the wife so much better than they know you.

screaming banshee 9:03 pm 23 Sep 10

Jim Jones said :

Most people can’t afford to do that anymore. I’d certainly prefer to be a stay at home dad.

Most people choose not to afford that anymore.

We’ve chosen for the wife to look after the kids and its so great that she can spend days taking them to playgrounds, playgroups, story time, swimming lessons and much more.

I cant imagine how it must be to have your kids know their day-carer better than they know you.

garner1 8:02 pm 23 Sep 10

I think posters also need to take into account before/after school care and vacation care.
Vacation care on average is $500 for the two weeks, before/after school care can be anywhere from $18-$22 each day, each time the service is used and with the Centrelink cap on child care rebate sitting at $7500 on the website (with a disclaimer of subject to the passage of legislation), parents aren’t getting that much back.
Add in the expense of fuel driving to and from work via day care facilities and the rising cost of parking, it doesn’t make for very inviting prospects.

Jim Jones 1:58 pm 23 Sep 10

Thumper said :

Um, whatever happened to someone like, you know, staying at home and looking after the little tacker?

Most people can’t afford to do that anymore. I’d certainly prefer to be a stay at home dad.

sepi 1:45 pm 23 Sep 10

And nearly a third of the fantastic 150.00 a week salary goes on parking…

And while it is hard for 9-5 workers to deal with childcare, it is impossibe for women on shifts, like nurses.

Daycare is scarce in Canberra and is only available for full days, on the same days every week. And for that you have to be on a waiting list for a year and ring them constantly to see if you have a spot.

And yet somehow, the daycare workers earn a pittance. The whole system stinks.

aidan 1:25 pm 23 Sep 10

sepi said :

Aidan – try the figures with daycare at 100.00 a day.

Give the parents a bit more income – one on 97 thou, the 3 day a weeker on 45 thou. = no ccb at all.

3 kids.

1 of the kids in 5 day care, as this was the only spot available.

You are eligible for $22.70/week for each child (according to the calculator), $34.90 for the 5 day a week child (not sure about that if they don’t actually go for all 5 days).

So you’re out of pocket $842/week (which is more than the “extra” income after tax – $724/week), but you get $421/week back from the rebate. Overall you’re better off by $303 a week.

If the second parent didn’t work, but stayed at home and looked after the kids, they would be eligible for $301.14/fortnight ($150.57/week) in family assistance. So overall, by working 3 days a week you’re better off by $153/week.

Hmmmm ….. not a straightforward decision. School is looking pretty inviting right now eh?

Erg0 1:10 pm 23 Sep 10

sepi said :

mortgage requiring 2 incomes did away with stay at home parents.

This is something of a circular argument, since houses would cost less if there were fewer two-income families.

aidan 1:04 pm 23 Sep 10

Thumper said :

Um, whatever happened to someone like, you know, staying at home and looking after the little tacker?

That is what we’ve chosen do, but it has meant my wife is out of the workforce for 12 years. Not a simple “take a couple of years off” scenario.

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