Being a parent is without a doubt the hardest yet most rewarding job in the world. As a father there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for my son, which is why – like thousands of other local mums and dads – I can’t understand why childcare is in the state it is.
Every day when I’m out talking to families in Grayndler, parents, single mums, working families and grandparents are sharing their horror stories when it comes to finding somewhere for their children to be cared for. “There are not enough places,” “It’s too expensive,” and “The hours don’t fit in with my work schedule,” are all comments I hear from frustrated people all too often and as a parent it’s something I unfortunately understand all too well myself.
Childcare is now in crisis. Since Labor has been in power they have slashed the Childcare Rebate, which means families are forking out even more for childcare – and that’s before the carbon tax forced childcare facilities to increase their fee, adding further pressure to already strained household budgets.
Every parent knows raising a child is expensive; you feel like you’re always reaching in your pocket trying to find money to pay for something. Labor promised to build 260 new child care centers to ease the pressure on parents but gave up after only building 38 – what message does that send to families about their thoughts on early childhood education?
“Childcare plays an essential role in children’s development, which is why we can’t afford to wait any longer.”
As a parent you want to provide your children with every opportunity, beginning with a good start in life. Childcare plays an essential role in children’s development, which is why we can’t afford to wait any longer; we need to get it right now.
Families need a system that is not only affordable but ensures that people can work flexible hours whilst knowing that their children are receiving high quality childcare. I know families have had enough of the excuses and the broken promises and I support a comprehensive inquiry into Australia’s childcare system so that we can find ways to introduce better and more affordable practices.
Under Liberal’s plan, the Productivity Commission will consider all the current impediments to a family friendly childcare system and look at how parents can better access existing services including long day care, occasional care, family day care and in-home care. It will look at the ramifications of inadequate childcare places and whether the current support for parents is sufficient and properly targeted.
We need to get this right, not just for our children, but also for our families. We need to start moving in the right direction now.
Words: Dr Cedric Spencer
Liberal candidate for Grayndler.