The rising cost of child care
Rising child care costs have been in the news recently with the announcement that fees have increased by some 150% over the past 10 years.
Daily fees of up to $170 per day have made good quality care unaffordable for some working mums who are paying more than 60% of their weekly salary to child care providers. The majority of Australian children spend part of their week in the care of grandparents and what happens in the future if grandparents are unwilling or unable to care for their grandchildren?
Our governments, past and present, have failed to recognise the changing reality of modern family life where motherhood is still considered a very important role but not the only role for modern mothers, most of whom want a career outside of the house.
If these hard working mums who cannot afford fees drop out of the workforce, their incomes will suffer and their children will lack the social and educational opportunities most 2-5 year olds enjoy.
We live in an era of increasing inequality in Australia. It would be a shame if this inequality is entrenched by the time a child starts school at age 5.
A report from the Productivity Commission on Child Care will be released in July. My hope is we will begin to plan for a future where full funding for children’s education begins when a child is 2 or 3 years of age and their teachers and educators are fully qualified and adequately remunerated.
The education of children whose parents are in the workforce should not be driven by market forces. Equal opportunity is just as important for children as it is for adults.