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David Leyonhjelm: Professionalisation of the industry the reason for escalating childcare costs.

Childcare educators blamed for rising costs

Liberal Democratic senator David Leyonhjelm has a new enemy: childcare educators.

He described their role as “wiping noses and stopping the kids from killing each other”, and proceeded to blame escalating childcare fees on the industry’s professionalisation.

“They brought in this national quality framework and they had to go and get a Certificate III in Childcare in order to continue the job they were doing,” he argued.

His comments, made on TV program The Project recently, were in response to a Department of Education publication that shows childcare costs will rise by 22 per cent over the next four years if the government’s proposed legislation isn’t passed.

Sydney’s prices will be the dearest, at, on average, $223 a day by 2020. Melbourne will follow at $175, trailed by Brisbane at $157.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham said the current average across the country for 10 hours of long daycare was $88. Though, echoing shadow education minister Kate Ellis, he described the current system as “broken”.

“I encourage Labor to stop the political games, listen to the Australian people and get on board by passing the savings needed to fund our childcare reforms,” he said in a press release.

While some parents may opt not to work given childcare costs, others, like Mary from Brighton-Le-Sands in Sydney, say they’re willing to weather them, as they see childcare as an investment in their children’s development.

Childcare giant Goodstart Early Learning, however, says costs aren’t cause for alarm for most caregivers. It highlighted the ever-increasing vacancies in the sector. The latest government figures verify this: about 18,000 long daycare places were created between March 2014 and March 2016. Though Goodstart also admitted there was “pressure for places in the CBDs of some of our capital cities”.

Nevertheless, whether urban or rural, it might be wise to remember that Australia’s childcare costs are hardly the worst of the worst.

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  1. We have Vietnamese, Chinese and other language speaking staff who are fantastic with the children’s care and essential for communication with children and families however they cannot fulfil the roles that Certificate III and Diploma require because they cannot write English for documentations purposes as required by Regulations. Further many of these staff hold a Qualification but have no idea about job requirements and the regulations once they are on the job.

    Wages for qualified staff of course are subject to awards and these employees who cannot fulfil their role because of these demands are simply overpaid.. It is a catch 22 for an employer – if you hire qualified staff you can’t afford it hence fees rise – if you don’t have qualified staff you do not meet the regulatory requirements – What are we to do. With rising costs parents in lower socio economic areas such as ours simply cannot afford the fees and of course we will see and (are seeing) more vacancies than ever.

    In addition might I stress that over the last 15 years I have noted the number of children with special needs, such as autism, behaviour etc. has increased significantly – (my own daily research is around 25-33%) each day.

    As our Centre is a non English speaking – children arrive at the age of 3 with no English we need to make childcare more affordable so as many children as possible can attend and spend this time preparing for Kindergarten so these problems do not follow children into the school system.

  2. I really think David Leyonhjelm needs to perhaps visit a few of the Early Learning centres before he makes snap judgements about their profession! Aside from the fact that I am sure he couldn’t do what some of these awesome people do on a daily basis, they are certainly accountable for the Early years input for many of our Australian children. Whilst stay at home mothers can do this themselves which is terrific, some people have to work and I know that as a mother you want to feel that your children are getting the best care possible infused with some of the important early learning that is imperative to development. The NQS provides a consistency across the centres and keeps care at a quality that should be expected in Australia. I am not a childcare worker and my children have outgrown childcare but I would’ve hoped that I had a quality carer and educator for my child whilst I was working. You get what you pay for in this world so if the Liberal Democratic senator wants his children and grandchildren to be cared for by sub-standard carers who provide no early learning I guess that is why he has his view. However as anyone with a brain knows, child development, early literacy and numeracy and problem solving strategies are developed between 0-6. Surely you want the best people in these roles???? Australia is constantly trying to keep up with rest of the world’s literacy and numeracy results and more often than not we are failing. With our heads of government attitudes, now I am really not surprised!!!

  3. What an insult to the Childcare Professionals in this country and to children!!
    It is a privilege to go to work each day at our OSHC Program and engage with children who who are caring, empathetic and have a thirst for fun and learning.
    Obviously David knows nothing about child care and the devotion of the people who choose that profession, or he wouldn’t have made those derogatory comments. If he has been elected to represent his community in in Parliament, then all I can say is “God help us!!”

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