Barriers to women working full time and starting small businesses

Barriers to women working full time and starting small businesses Main Image

28 October 2020

Thank you Mr Deputy Speaker,

In Yass earlier this week I called in on the Good Start Early Learning Centre – my friends Anthony Albanese and Amanda Rishworth were there too.

We had to be mindful of not getting in the way of busy Mums and Dads rushing in to drop their kids off before getting out the door and on to work.

It’s a routine many inside and outside this chamber will be familiar with.

These parents and what they do in their day are in the engine room of their local community and economy.

They are able to get on with creating a livelihood and build prosperity knowing that their kids are learning, laughing and being loved by professional educators and carers.

But before the busyness of that rush hour - those parents have had to make some choices – choices that aren’t always in the best interests of their family, themselves, their community or the wider economy.

It’s a dilemma and discussion that my husband Brad and I have had.

And a special shout out to Ruby, Max and Jack – mum will be home on Friday night, be good for your Dad!

When I had my first child, I knew that I would have to go back to work and made enquiries at three separate childcare centers in my area.

I was lucky enough to get Ruby a place in one. The first day of drop off is incredibly hard - I even witnessed it when we were at Goodstart in Yass on Monday.

But these childcare centers, the carers and the early childhood educators become part of your family.

They care for and educate the most precious of your possessions while you’re at work.

And I want to thank Little Nippers Early Learning & Childcare Centre in Merimbula and all those educators who have been part of my family’s life.

For many families, mine included, you have to discuss whether you can afford child care and how many days you can go back to work - without simply working to pay the childcare bills.

In our family, I became the secondary income earner and was only able to enter paid work for 2 or 3 days.

If I worked any additional hours, we hit the subsidy limit and full fees kicked in - which we simply could not afford at the time.

It’s a reality that many couples will identify with and a situation that more often than not, stops women from engaging in fulltime work or trying to grow a small business.

The system should empower people and communities – not limit or restrict choice and potential.

In regional communities’ small business are our backbone, we need to support women and families to grow their businesses and grow their employment potential.

Right now, the system, under this Government, is a handbrake on livelihoods, a handbrake on small businesses and a handbrake on regional economies –at a time when we are needing to reshape our future, post drought, bushfire and COVID-19.

That will change when Anthony Albanese is Prime Minister and Amanda Rishworth is the Early Childhood Education Minister.

Bring it on Mr Deputy Speaker! Bring it on!

The Morrison system has failed parents.

It has created a financial disincentive for many second wage earners to work full time or grow their business.

An Albanese Labor Government, will fix Australia’s broken child care system - no family will be worse off.

This is not a welfare measure – this is about making sure more women are participating in work, growing their regional businesses and unlocking their economic potential.

Mr Deputy Speaker, this week in Yass, the Labor team spoke of early education as being part of every child’s life.

In the same way that kids go to school when they are 5, all children should have access to early education - when the foundations of their ‘future selves’ is being laid down in their head, heart and hands.

As Mr Albanese said on Monday “the human brain develops 90% of its capacity in those first five years of life.”

And yet child care fees for parents in Tumut and Tumbarumba have gone up by 12.3 per cent in the last 12 months.

If you can’t afford it, your kids miss out.

If you want to work more you are penalised – that is the reality of how this government’s child care system works – or more to the point how it doesn’t work!

When they had a chance to fix it and deliver renewal and recovery in the recent budget, they failed to see the opportunity.

If this government is serious about creating jobs – create jobs in child care, use child care to unlock jobs, use child care to empower women to grow their businesses.  

Please start in Cooma, even before Snowy 2.0, Mums and Dads in Cooma were struggling to access the childcare places they needed.

The potential of the care economy in Australia’s recovery is clear for all to see – an Albanese Government will make it happen.