OPINION: Childcare needs to be top political priority
IF OUR government wants more people working and less on Centrelink, childcare needs to be at the top of the priority list.
Parents with young children grapple with the question of whether going back to work is worthwhile if their salary is going to be absorbed by childcare costs.
Meanwhile, those in the industry wonder if their years of training and experience mean anything, given the meagre wage they take home.
Childcare is a complex issue.
It is, of course, not entirely up to the government to subsidise a service offered by a private business.
But it is incumbent on the government to support an industry which gives our children the best possible start in life.
Early childhood education is not a glorified babysitting service.
It is an opportunity for children, in the crucially formative first five years of their lives, to start developing skills which will carry through their entire lives.
Every family should be supported to access this service if they choose, and every worker should be adequately paid for providing it.
While progress has been made on both of these fronts, more support is needed.