Australian women and children to suffer from child care snap back

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

A survey commissioned by the Front Project shows the negative impact the Morrison Government’s snap-back to their old child care system will have on household budgets, workforce participation and access to early learning for children.

The report highlights the importance of affordable early learning to working families, confirming that parents who have had their employment impacted by the pandemic value early learning the most.

The data shows families currently looking for new jobs are 10 per cent more likely to say early learning is important. These parents know they need access to affordable early education and care in order to take up work and contribute to our economic recovery.

The report also highlights the impact out-of-pocket child care fees have on household budgeting and decision making. 57 per cent of families said fees impact their social spending, 55 per cent said they impact their grocery budgets, and 35 per cent said they impact where they choose to live.

This data confirms out-of-pocket child care costs were already crippling families pre-pandemic. Now in the middle of a recession, when families are relying on mortgage and rent moratoriums, JobKeeper and JobSeeker to get by, child care fees will be out of reach for many.

The reality is since the Government’s snap-back announcement, families across Australia have been sitting around their dinner tables weighing up whether they can afford to go back to work, or whether the cost of early education and care is too great.

During this crisis, when working women are falling further behind and losing jobs at a greater rate than men, more than ever we need an early learning system that supports parents, in particular mothers, to return to work.

Labor is concerned that for many women, child care will no longer help them work – it will act as a barrier. Scott Morrison’s snap-back will be a JobCrusher.

The Government has bungled early education and care throughout this pandemic, and it is parents, children, educators and providers who have paid the price every step of the way.

Their “free child care” policy left many providers struggling to stay afloat and families without access to care. Now their snap-back to the old system will fail to support families with out of pocket costs, and in turn risk parents being unable to return to work, children not getting the early education they need, and providers suffering from a drop in demand.

Australians need a child care system that ensures early education is affordable and accessible for families, keeps educators in jobs and protects the viability of providers.

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