Fly-in nannies not the answer to childcare challenge, says Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says he doesn't think the big challenges in childcare are going to be solved by bringing in nannies from overseas.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says he doesn’t think the big challenges in childcare are going to be solved by bringing in nannies from overseas. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has dismissed proposals to make greater use of foreign au pairs to improve the availability and affordability of childcare.

On Sunday, it emerged the Abbott government was reported to be considering a Productivity Commission recommendation that au pairs be allowed to work for one family for 12 months, rather than the current limit of six months.

But, interviewed on Channel Nine on Sunday, Mr Shorten said this was not the right approach.

“I think the big challenges in childcare aren’t going to be solved by bringing in nannies from overseas,” he said.

“I think the foreign nanny issue is not the big issue in this and I think if people think that we’re going to have all the children in Australia and their childcare solved by bringing in a whole lot of overseas nannies … that’s not the long-term solution.

“I think what we need to do is make sure [childcare is] properly funded, that people can afford to pay it, that the fees aren’t getting out of control and of course it’s good quality for our kids,” Mr Shorten said.

About 10,000 people travel to Australia each year to work as au pairs in return for room and board and an allowance usually of between $200 and $250 a week. The wages of au pairs do not attract government subsidies.

Australian Nannies Association vice-president Annemarie Sansom said she supported quality childcare that provided flexibility for families. She said many people were turning to au pairs because they could not afford a nanny and there was a lack of other flexible options.

Ms Sansom said most au pairs did not have a background in childcare, and she had concerns about untrained workers being left alone with infants, and being poorly paid.

Community Childcare Association chairwoman Anne Kennedy said she respected the right of parents to use au pairs, but if government funding was to be extended to au pairs, they should be governed by the same regulations and standards as other forms of publicly subsidised childcare.

A spokeswoman for Social Services Minister Scott Morrison said the government was considering the Productivity Commission’s recommendations, and had made no announcement on liberalising access to au pairs. Mr Morrison is expected to announce a package of measures for families before the federal budget on May 12.

“The government has been working with the opposition through Kate Ellis and now Jenny Macklin on our proposed response in an effort to ensure a measure of bipartisanship on the important issue for families,” the spokeswoman said.

“I am pleased Kate Ellis and Jenny Macklin are taking a more constructive approach than Bill Shorten’s typical reactionary approach,” she said.

A spokesman for Immigration Minister Peter Dutton declined to comment.

Source Article from http://theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/flyin-nannies-not-the-answer-to-childcare-challenge-says-opposition-leader-bill-shorten-says-20150405-1metmv.html
Fly-in nannies not the answer to childcare challenge, says Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says
http://theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/flyin-nannies-not-the-answer-to-childcare-challenge-says-opposition-leader-bill-shorten-says-20150405-1metmv.html
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