Childcare Isn’t Just Kids’ Stuff

Len and your Ward 2 Greens team stand firmly on the side of working mums and dads who want the very best for their little V.I.P.s and need the best to be affordable.

Here’s what candidate Kristy Mounsey, who is number 2 on the Greens ticket, has to say about the importance of childcare:

“Not only is childcare important for enabling parents to participate in the workforce, it’s important for the development of young children, too. It gives them the opportunity to spend time with other kids outside the home and to prepare for school. It’s a social justice issue that children don’t miss out on activity time at childcare centres just because their parents can’t afford it.”

Affordable childcare is a gender equity issue too. True story: young mother living in Ward 2 is offered an attractive position with an OK salary in the Sydney CBD, calculates the cost of childcare for 2 kids plus her daily travel costs, allows for days when the kids are sick—and reluctantly realises that it’s not worthwhile for her to take the job. Sound familiar?

The loss of a competent woman worker from the workforce is a loss to us all and a blow to her own life chances. She loses out because there are no employer contributions going into her super account, and no opportunity to accumulate experience and build her resumé. While the young dad who’s not expected to be the primary carer is getting ahead in his career, she will probably be looking at an entry-level position when the youngest child is old enough for school.

Surprised to see talk of gender equity on a Greens website? The good news is that we’re not just an environmentalist party, we also champion women’s rights and interests (among many other critically important causes). We are committed to making Council-owned childcare in Ward 2 more supportive of the needs and aspirations of young mothers as well as giving the little ones an even better experience than they enjoy now.

Affordable childcare: our goals and principles

The Greens’ vision is of early childhood education and care being free of charge for all. It should be publicly owned, of high quality and run on a not-for-profit basis.

It follows that we will consistently oppose any attempt to privatise the council-owned and operated early childhood education and childcare centres that we already have.

We acknowledge that the system currently in place, mandated by the federal government, is based on income-tested subsidies to individual families to help them with the high fees charged by both council-owned and private centres.

An improvement to the subsidy system, promised for next year, will make childcare more affordable for more people but not address the existing problems of high fees, uneven quality and unnecessary complication.

In this imperfect situation, your Greens team will push for the following principles:

  • Council-run early learning and childcare centres must receive the investment necessary to ensure that they are competitive with privately-run ones on quality as well as fee-level;

  • All Council-run early learning and childcare centres must be supported to maintain / work towards “exceeding National Quality Standard” ratings on the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) scale.

What else Len will do

As your Greens councillor for Ward 2, Len will push for:

  • A new council-owned and run early learning centre in Ward 2—perhaps at the Hope Street shops in Seven Hills, conveniently close to two primary schools;

  • Timely completion of all scheduled renovations to council-owned early learning centres in Ward 2 and throughout the Blacktown LGA;

  • The lowest fees possible without sacrificing either the quality of care or the pay and conditions of the dedicated staff;

  • On-going commitment to providing culturally appropriate care for Aboriginal children and to ensuring that activities and activity materials reflect the cultural diversity of the Ward 2 population;

  • A pilot program offering free places for the children of vulnerable people such as families living in crisis accommodation, refugees and asylum seekers, and women who have left violent partners.