Page 157 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 28 November 2012

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(g) that a Productivity Commission report found that with the implementation of the National Quality Framework for childcare that the cost of childcare will increase by $30 per day for two children;

(h) the Minister for Disability, Children and Young People stated that the cost would only increase by $1-$3 per day; and

(i) that Canberra families currently pay $75 per week above the national average for childcare; and

(2) calls on the ACT Government to:

(a) provide opportunities and support for the development of additional early education and childcare places by the private sector and community organisations; and

(b) write to the Federal Government stating support for a Productivity Commission review into childcare to ensure that childcare is more accessible, affordable and flexible for parents.”.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (12.02): The ACT Greens recognise that, for many parents, returning to work after the birth of a child is a high priority and that some parents and carers are having difficulties finding appropriate and affordable child care. Certainly this is something that was evident to me in recent times, particularly during the election campaign. I had one lady approach me up at Lyneham shops and we had a lengthy discussion about her personal difficulties of finding a place. She had actually had to postpone returning to work. It is but one example but I think a very illustrative example of the difficulties that people are facing.

I think we all know that the ACT is currently experiencing something of a minor population boom. It has done for a number of years now and there is a corresponding increase in demand for early childhood education and childcare services. I also understand there are many other reasons why a family may seek child care, such as personal illness or changed care arrangements, such as a kinship foster care situation.

I believe that all Australian families are entitled to access high quality, affordable child care when they need it. Recent research into brain development and early childhood psychology has clearly highlighted the need for child care to be engaging, exciting and evidence based. I also believe that people working in the childcare sector should be fairly remunerated for the work they do. The Greens understand and support the catchcry of United Voice on this matter that quality costs. Federally, the Australian Greens have been consistently calling for an immediate increase in the pay rate for childcare workers and the phasing in of much larger increases to reflect the skill level required in, and the importance of, childcare work.

The commonwealth government has a major role to play in supporting childcare centre managers to both recruit and retain the best possible staff and to better negotiate the challenges many services are facing in light of the recent national quality framework. We also need to work with the commonwealth to ensure that more is done to support carers’ ability to afford this quality child care and ease some of the pressures facing working families.

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