OWNER of Little Grommets Before and After School Care, Carol Norton with her daughter Thaila Norton, agrees parents can't afford increased childcare fees, but believes their children will benefit from being taught by better-qualified staff.
OWNER of Little Grommets Before and After School Care, Carol Norton with her daughter Thaila Norton, agrees parents can't afford increased childcare fees, but believes their children will benefit from being taught by better-qualified staff. Tweed Daily News/Crystal Spencer

Parents face dilemma over child care

WORKING parents will be forced to leave work if they have to pay up to $1500 per year extra for childcare, under changes to improve care standards proposed by the Rudd Government.

Carol Norton from Little Grommets Before and After School Care at Banora Point Primary School said parents could not afford to pay an additional $500 to $1500 annually, per child, to pay for better qualified teachers, improved staff to children ratios, and uniform standards for all centres.

“One of our mums said that she will have to leave work if they keep putting up the cost of childcare, because it just wasn't worth her while as her wage only just covers the cost of care,” Mrs Norton said.

“But as a provider I can only see a benefit in hiring better qualified staff, which should lead to better education outcomes; although good staff comes at a cost.

“There is not a lot of money to be made from childcare and some centres are already putting up their prices.

“Parents do get 50 per cent of their out-of-pocket child care expenses rebated from the government, but that doesn't make it easier to pay extra.”

Murwillumbah single mother Kylie Baxter who works four days a week as a property manager said she would be financially worse off if she worked full-time.

“If I worked five days I would loose my part-pension and would have to pay more for childcare, so it would not be worth my while,” said the mum who spends $120 per week on childcare.

“I work to not only provide my child with all that she needs, but because I cannot imagine not working, to be frank.

“But some mums don't get any fee help from the government and have to pay full price so their children can socialise and get the best start available.”

The changes aimed at improving the future of Australia's 830,000 children in government-approved childcare centres, will be implemented from July 1 next year and will see centres forced to hire staff who have completed a four-year degree at tertiary level, rather than staff who have completed a diploma at TAFE or college.

One childcare provider who asked not to be named said the system would be a financial drain on providers as well as parents and would be of little benefit to children.

“A university graduate is not going to want to change nappy; not everyone can focus on the education programming, someone has to do the dirty work.”



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