The Greens have welcomed a new report from the Grattan Institute today, Cheaper childcare: A practical plan to boost female workforce participation, which illustrates that government investment to lower the cost of early learning will improve gender equity and opportunities for women’s financial independence.
Senator Mehreen Faruqi, Greens spokesperson on Education, said:
“Expensive childcare has held Australian women back for far too long. The reality is that child-rearing in Australia is highly gendered, and it’s women who lose independence and income when decisions have to be made about who will stay home.
“Government should invest in early learning and make it fee-free for all. This will benefit women, and it will benefit the whole community.
“Early learning and care should be recognised as a critical part of a child’s development, and funded as such by the government.
“It should be fee-free so every family can access it without barriers. It is an essential service,” she said.
Senator Larissa Waters, Greens Senate Leader and spokesperson on Women, said:
“This report confirms what women have been saying for years: childcare in Australia is unaffordable and inaccessible, and mothers, more often than not, are paying the price.
“It also highlights that fairer parental leave and workplace flexibility for both parents are needed to give families more choices when juggling caring responsibilities.
“But instead of looking at these options, the Liberal government is trying to force women back into the kitchen.
“Women are bearing the worst economic impacts from Covid, losing more jobs or hours of work than men, and performing a much higher care load.
“And our Treasurer's response is to tell the women of Australia to have more babies to boost the economy.
“You want a real economic stimulus? Help women return to work by making childcare permanently free and making it easier for parents to share care.”