Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young has backed Parliamentary Secretary for Early Education and Childcare Maxine McKew’s call to reduce the current childcare ratio to one carer for every three babies.
“The Greens have long called for nationally consistent childcare standards, and to achieve carer-to-child ratios of at least one-to-three for children up to two years old, and one-to-four for children older than two years,” said Senator Hanson-Young.
Currently in Australia the dominant standard is one carer for every five babies.
Senator Hanson-Young also rejected claims by children’s author Mem Fox this week that placing young babies in formal care was a form of child abuse. “All Australian families should be able to access affordable, quality childcare if they so wish, without being made to feel guilty,” Senator Hanson-Young said.
“There are many factors that parents take into account when making these important decisions: economic reasons, health reasons, and personal reasons.
“And while mothers have the right to choose to return to work after the birth of a child, as do fathers, support for those who decide to stay at home is sorely lacking. More than two-thirds of Australian working women cannot access paid maternity leave.”
Senator Hanson-Young delivered her inaugural speech yesterday, and in it emphasised that the Greens’ push for a Government-funded paid parental leave scheme was at the top of her legislative agenda.
“Australia lags behind the rest of the world in that it is one of only two developed countries without paid maternity leave. It is time for Australia to introduce Government-funded paid parental leave, to support mums and dads and their children… It is an investment for the future too precious to ignore,” she said.
For more information: Gemma Clark on 0427 604 760