ACT Encouraged to Join Child Care Discussion

Senator Zed Seselja has welcomed the Productivity Commission’s release of a child care and early learning issues paper and encouraged Canberra families and operators to join the discussion.

Assistant Minister for Education Sussan Ley says the issues paper is the next stage of the Productivity Commission’s Inquiry into child care.  It comes just three weeks after the Coalition announced the nation’s first look at the sector since the 1990s, “proving this Government is serious about reforming child care as a priority,” Ms Ley said.

“The Government recognises the importance of establishing more flexible child care options that are also affordable and accessible, which is why we tasked the Productivity Commission to undertake this Inquiry.”

Senator Seselja said the Productivity Commission will take a holistic view to reform, including looking at issues facing mothers returning to the workforce, rural, regional and remote communities, shift workers, and disadvantaged and vulnerable children.  “The work lives of Australian families are no longer strictly nine-to-five and we need a child care model which supports our needs now, rather than languishing in the previous century,” stated Senator Seselja.

“We’ve made it clear we want to hear from all Australians about their experiences and how they think we can build a stronger child care system – this issues paper is about sparking that debate.”

Some of the key questions the Productivity Commission is asking Australians:

  • Have you experienced difficulty accessing suitable care for your child? If so, is this due to a lack of services in your area or available places at the time you require?
  • Has increasing workforce participation by mothers increased demand for child care, or has improved availability, affordability, and/or quality of child care led to increased participation?
  • What can child care operators and governments do to improve the delivery of child care services to children with additional needs?
  • What are the particular challenges facing parents and operators in regional, remote and rural areas?
  • Whether any increased staffing costs for operators have been, or will be, passed on in higher fees charged to families?

Senator Seselja said the questions being posed in the issues paper were just a guide and the Productivity Commission was encouraging people to raise other issues, ideas, evidence or examples they may have encountered.

He said anyone interested in downloading the paper or making a submission could visit http://www.pc.gov.au/projects/inquiry/childcare.

“The Productivity Commission will also travel around the country and talk to parents, educators and operators face-to-face to ensure as many people can have their say as possible,” stated Senator Seselja.

The Productivity Commission is expected to report to the Government by the end of October 2014. Initial submissions close 3 February 2014.