The Government has ruled out complete deregulation of the childcare sector after a crossbench senator suggested the idea to help combat the affordability crisis.
Liberal Democrat Senator David Leyonhjelm wants to see fewer checks and rules around childcare, particularly when children are being cared for in another home.
“It used to be possible for friendly parents to provide childcare for their neighbours and that sort of thing, and they were charged for it and that’s no longer legal,” the Senator said.
“Deregulating childcare so that people get back to, I suppose informal arrangements, and didn’t need credentials to run a childcare centre – at least for small numbers of people, small numbers of kids – I think that would be the main thing I’d be promoting.”
But as the Coalition reviews the Child National Quality Framework set up by Labor, Assistant Education Minister Sussan Ley has dismissed the Senator’s calls for full deregulation.
“The Senator is expressing a frustration I hear every day, and I understand that frustration,” she said.
“The quality framework that we have in place will remain, but we the Government will improve it.”
But Senator Leyonhjelm remains hopeful that the Government will listen to his suggestion, adding that it could be a negotiation point for Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s paid parental leave policy.
“How badly do they want to get it through? Will they make compromises elsewhere in order to get some support?” he asked.
“I won’t support [PPL] at its current level … but perhaps if we made progress on childcare, I might be more amenable to it.”
Opposition fears ‘dodgy’ deals
Opposition spokeswoman Amanda Rishworth is calling for a promise from the Government that there will be no “dodgy” deals.
“The complete deregulation of this as proposed by the Senator is, I think, a real concern,” she said.
“We need the Government to guarantee that they will not do a dodgy deal in the Senate and put the quality and safety of our early education at risk.”
Speaking with the Saturday AM program, Senator Leyonhjelm said informal childcare arrangements have previously worked well.
“It was done for probably hundreds of years, certainly many decades prior to the current regulatory environment,” he said.
“So the cost is optional. If parents don’t think that it’s safe for their children or there’s something wrong with it, then obviously they’re responsible for their children, so they wouldn’t put them in there.
“At the end of the day parents are responsible for their children, not the Government.”
Childcare deregulation ‘would put children at risk’
Early Childhood Australia chief executive Samantha Page warned the new Senator’s idea would put children at risk.
“We do have family daycare models and we have inner homecare models, so those options are available to families in one way or another,” Ms Page told Saturday AM.
“But the reason we have regulation is to keep children safe and I don’t hear a big call for parents to do away with safety and regulation.
“I think it would put children at risk and it would be not in their best interests.”
But Senator Leyonhjelm remains optimistic he will find support.
“There is support for deregulation of childcare, or less regulation of childcare at least, to make it more affordable in all the parties as a matter of fact,” he said.
“It’s not just Coalition and Nationals – there are Labor people who agree with that as well. So I think it would be surprising where the support could come from.”
The Liberal Democrat is one of eight crossbench senators whose support could be crucial in passing government legislation.
He and 11 other new Senators will be sworn into the Upper House on Monday.
Source Article from https://au.news.yahoo.com/latest/a/-/latest/24392725/government-rejects-liberal-democrat-senators-call-for-complete-deregulation-of-childcare-sector/
Government rejects Liberal Democrat Senator's call for complete deregulation of childcare sector
childcare – Yahoo News Search Results
childcare – Yahoo News Search Results