PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA: I rise to express my concern about changes that the government has made to childcare under the “National Quality Framework”.
As of 1 Jan this year, childcare operators had to reduce their staff:child ratios from 5:1 to 4:1. The impact of this has been to dramatically increase the cost of childcare to families. Fees are reportedly going up by up to $70 per week per child.
I have one mother in my electorate, Mrs Geeta Kulkarni, from Boronia whose child attends the Magic Gardens Childcare Centre in Ferntree Gully. Mrs Kulkarni informs me that the new changes have led to a fee increase of 21% or $65 per week. She asks, “Why are we penalised for working hard and paying our taxes? The changes in staff to children ratios will not make a life changing impact on my child. All of us were very happy with the care being provided before.”
The government has introduced these new ratios for no discernible benefit. There is no research that says that 1:4 is better than 1:5 and even if there is, why can’t parents make their own decisions about the level of care they want.
If Mrs Kulkarni is happy with the level of care provided, and the childcare centre is happy to provide that level of care, then what is the problem the government is trying to solve?
The government is making cost of childcare dramatically more expensive for everyday Australians, making it unaffordable for many. They should abandon this policy and give responsibility back to parents.