I'm quite sure that I speak on behalf of many (if not all) families across the country when I say that something urgently needs to change with regards to the system of childcare in this country.
As a mother of two young children, both of whom are in care, the amount of stress and time used in not only securing a place for your child, but also keeping up with the costs once the child/children are in care, is incredibly stressful and a major contender I would assume for many a relationship breakdown.
I have recently returned to work from maternity leave and that process in itself was disheartening to say the least, where I was advised by one Centrelink staff member that I would in fact be better off financially not returning to work at all.
So to be clear, as an educated, career-driven, professional woman I was being told to stay at home because financially there was no incentive for me to return to work. Go figure!
For two children in full-time childcare, it works out for us to be around $500 per week and that's after all rebates and subsidies. So effectively the Centrelink worker was right, because after paying childcare and rent, that's pretty much all of my income gone.
I don't know what the golden answer is to this problem, but I do wonder if it's a bigger shift of mindset around the issue that needs to occur. Maybe as a society we need to place more value on the importance of families and all that it entails and provide more flexibility for those people trying to balance work/family life?
Something definitely needs to change regarding the costs involved, as the way things currently stand, it is very difficult for many families to justify working just to pay for childcare. It's not the childcare workers receiving the money either, so I don't know where the money is going, but whatever the case, something needs to happen as families are at crisis point.