Australian (ASX) Stock Market Forum

Free Childcare: Productivity Commission Could Do Better

Garpal Gumnut

Ross Island Hotel
2 January 2006
From today's AFR :

Currently, about 1.4 million children attend childcare in Australia. But those from vulnerable backgrounds, who would benefit the most, are less likely to attend, and co-ordination of spending is poor between state and federal governments.

The report says that although extra care services will prompt additional supply in many areas, in persistently “thin” markets and complex places, the government should fund the establishment of new services and pay to keep them operating.

Delivering a fully universal system “will require careful implementation and sequencing” and solutions to workforce issues described as “considerable and persistent”.

Improved pay and conditions for childcare workers are considered “critical”, and the commission recommended early childhood educators who study to become teachers should have faster advancement and flexibility.

It is essential that government bites the bullet and addresses the severe impost that unsuitable Childcare arrangements presently in place have on young families. By severe impost I mean the cost of and lack of suitable arrangements to assist families. Costly care and the inability of families, particularly women, to juggle work and parental obligations under the current disorderly system, impacts on the health and development of children and the careers and incomes of parents.

It cannot be that difficult to have a system similar to Medicare, perhaps calling it Childcare, to boost productivity. It should be geographically widely available as possible, as open to those living in mansions on Gadigal or Meanjin Country as to those living in compromised dwellings about Larrimah or Kalgoorlie.

There is ample evidence that children in good Childcare have better life outcomes than those unable to access care. The stress in economic and overall developmental terms on poor to middle income people is immense. Good childcare will encourage women to work 4-5 days a week as opposed to the present 0-3.

Voters elect Labor governments to address issues such as this. It is not a good fit for our Liberal/National politicians who are more open to private arrangements with the attendant criminal activity and rorts such as happened under the Morrison government with the NDIS. Albanese needs to move on this good social policy lest he be labelled the did-nothing PM.

Could do better?

How about suggesting that governments reduce red tape and hold their own projects with more accountlability
I thought ASF was free
@Dona Ferentes, you are confusing childcare for children with childcare for adults. Usually the domain of hotels and Bunnings. Many years ago one of my local pubs had a sign out "Wives Please Note - Husband Day Care Centre"
How about suggesting that governments reduce red tape.....
@UMike, in my day our kids happily attended childcare but it was called kindergarten and was free, provided by councils. None of the advanced qualifications required for the staff nor all the associated red tape.