Expensive childcare holding working women back

A new report confirms unaffordable childcare is a significant barrier to Australian women participating in the workforce, according to Amanda Rishworth, Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education and Development.

Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA has released a report that finds too many Australian women are locked out of working, or working the hours they want, due to the cost of childcare.

Australian women are much more likely to work part time than in comparable OECD countries and we have one of the highest rates of female involuntary part-time employment in the OECD.

The report echoes Labor’s argument that the current system means second income earners, usually women, often receive no financial gain from working more than three days in the week.

As one example, the report states that in a household where both parents have the potential to earn $60,000 per year full-time, the second income earner would be working for about $2 per hour on the fourth day and nothing on the fifth day.

The report highlights the significant boost to our economy that could come from making it easier for women with young children to re-enter the workforce and work more hours.

Labor knows the current childcare system is broken. That is why Labor has a plan for cheaper childcare, which will:

  • scrap the $10,560 childcare subsidy cap, which often sees women losing money from an extra day’s work
  • lift the maximum childcare subsidy rate to 90 percent, and
  • increase childcare subsidy rates and taper them for every family earning less than $530,000.

The Productivity Commission will also conduct a comprehensive review of the sector, with the aim of implementing a universal 90 percent subsidy for all families. The ACCC will design a price regulation mechanism to shed light on costs and fees, and drive them down for good.

Labor’s plan for cheaper childcare will reward working families and allow more second income earners, usually women, to work more and contribute to our economic recovery.

Labor, families, business groups, economists and the early learning sector know that affordable, high quality childcare is vital for children, parents and our economy – so why won’t Scott Morrison listen?