Quality, community and regulation lacking in Productivity Commission report on childcare

20 February 2015

YWCA Canberra’s Executive Director, Frances Crimmins is calling on the Social Services Minister, Scott Morrison, to ensure that quality, community-based, properly regulated childcare is not lost in the Coalition’s new policy.

Despite robust consultation with providers, the Productivity Commission’s final report on childcare and early childhood learning recommends watering down educator qualifications, in a bid to reduce the cost of childcare.

Ms Crimmins said, “Winding back qualifications to drive down childcare fees will only result in substandard education and care for children.

“Parents and carers who use our services demand qualified, professional staff who are dedicated to providing the best possible care for their children.

“We recruit educators and provide ongoing training and professional development, and strongly recommend the current educational requirements for early childhood centres be maintained.

“We do however, welcome the recommendations to review current qualifications and programming requirements in outside school care programs.”

YWCA Canberra is also concerned about the recommendation to remove fringe benefits and the introduction of payroll tax for not-for-profit childcare providers.

“As a not-for-profit organisation, we reinvest retained earnings from our childcare business to provide socially inclusive programs and services to the community.

“If not-for-profit childcare providers lose these benefits, we will be unable to provide critical non-government services to the community.

“This includes emergency food relief, education and training, affordable housing, and community development to supplement emerging gaps in government funding.

“If implemented, these recommendations could be the nail in the coffin for the not-for-profit sector, following the recent funding cuts issued by the Department of Social Services.”

In relation to the proposed nannies scheme, Ms Crimmins urged the Minister to consider the potential impact on the current family day care scheme, which did not rate a mention in the report.

“There are a host of issues to consider with the move towards nannies, including a loss of staff from early childhood centres and family day care providers.

“More importantly, parents will want to know how nannies will be certified, monitored and regulated to ensure children are not only safe, but receiving quality education and care.

“I urge the Minister to prioritise quality, community-based early childhood education and care, for the benefit of children, families, and the whole community.”

– ENDS –

Frances Crimmins is available for interview.

Media contact: Joanna Allebone 0450 962 842

About YWCA Canberra: YWCA Canberra is a feminist, not-for-profit community organisation that has been providing community services and representing women’s issues in the Canberra community since its establishment in 1929. YWCA Canberra employs more than 300 staff across the ACT, and delivers 30 quality programs in children’s services, community development, housing, youth services, women’s leadership, advocacy, and training. Represented in 122 countries, the YWCA has a global reach of 25 million women and girls. As part of this international movement, YWCA Canberra works for a world where reconciliation, justice, peace, health, human dignity, freedom and care for the environment are promoted and sustained through women’s leadership. For more information visit: www.ywca-canberra.org.au

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