budget cuts spur
The Daily Telegraph
June 30, 2014
CHILDCARE providers are warning they will close their doors unless a federal government funding cut from the Budget is reinstated.
Family Day Care Australia said the Community Support Program was vital for many family daycare centres — ensuring educators were properly recruited, trained and operating in line with national standards.
It said 72 per cent of services were braced for funding cuts when the changes came into effect in July 2015.
The Abbott government has tightened eligibility criteria for the CSP, which it says blew out by $200 million in three years under Labor.
It is now targeting it to services in regional, remote and disadvantaged communities.
One of the largest childcare services, All Areas Family Day Care in Sydney, said it could have no choice but to close down if the eligibility crackdown went ahead.
“We are facing a very real threat from these funding cuts,” co-director Amany Mikhail said.
And Family Day Care Australia chief executive Carla Northam said it was a national problem: “Every family daycare stakeholder, from children and parents to educators and service staff, will pay the price of the changes to CSP funding.”
But Assistant Minister for Education Sussan Ley said parents who used family daycare received about 30 per cent more assistance under the childcare benefit, and the majority of CSP funding went to centres in competitive metropolitan areas.
“(To) continue on unchanged would’ve been counterproductive and ultimately unsustainable,” she said.
Sydney provider Heather Town, who has a family daycare centre under the umbrella of All Areas Family Day Care and specialises in taking children with special needs, said she hoped the Abbott government would reconsider the changes. “I love my job, I love helping children with special needs,” she said. Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten will write to childcare centres across the country to urge them to fight changes to childcare payments, including the move to freeze indexation on the means-tested childcare benefit.
Senior education department officials have previously confirmed the move, which will save the government $230 million over the next four years, will have an impact on half a million families.
Call for tax breaks on daycare fees
BY IAN WALKER
SKY-HIGH childcare costs are preventing mothers returning to the workforce and are damaging their careers.
Women’s groups want government and employers to subsidise daycare so women aren’t forced to stay home to look after their own children.
A National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling report has shown women working full time on $16.37 an hour only keep $4.55 of it after childcare costs.
Australian Businesswomen’s Network spokeswoman Cheryl Hayman said: “It’s sad women who aren’t paid highly are forced out of the workforce. You would have to be really committed to work for $5 an hour.”
A survey of 14,000 women by the Heat Group found 42 per cent would work 20 hours or more a week if childcare was cheaper, while 30 per cent said they would like fees to be tax deductible.
UK research has shown women taking more than two years out of the workforce lose 18 per cent of their future earning power, jumping to 38 per cent for three years out of the workforce.
Sydney mother Caitlyn Sutterby reluctantly returned to work recently as the income of her husband Robert couldn’t cover their bills.
About $160 of the $180 she earns each week goes to childcare for her two sons.
Originally published as Cuts spur childcare crisis nationwide