Accounting firm KPMG wants the Australian government to subsidise 95 percent of childcare.
KPMG in Australia claims that doing so could make it easier for mum’s with children under 5 years-of-age to return to the workforce, and could help boost the nation’s economy by up to $2.1 billion.
“Affordable childcare looms as one of the key factors in parents’ ability to secure their desired place in the workforce as we work to rebuild the Australian economy,” the KPMG report reads (pdf).
“Parents of young children who want to contribute more to the household income often find themselves looking at an insufficient financial reward from taking on extra work, once childcare costs are deducted,” the report reads.
KPMG estimates the suggested childcare subsidy (CCS) to cost $5.4 billion and benefit Australia’s annual Gross Domestic Product by up to $7.5 billion.
In the meantime, and mindful of the economic climate, KPMG has recommended an interim plan that includes eliminating the per-child subsidy cap (allowing every child to gain some federal subsidy for child care), and an increase in the maximum subsidy for low-income families.
KPMG believes these changes will increase the net CCS expenditure to $2.5 billion, but will enable between 30,000 to 40,000 full-time jobs.
Australian Childcare Alliance (ACA) vice president Nesha Hutchinson supports KPMG’s recommendation. The peak body for long day childcare in Australia VP said it would be of benefit to both the sector and Australian families.
Speaking to The Epoch Times on Sept. 7, Hutchinson noted that KPMG’s recommendation would make childcare more accessible to more families and it would also have the benefit of increasing educational outcomes for children.
“Research has shown that children benefit from high-quality early childhood education,” said Hutchinson.
When children have two days a week in the two years before starting school, Hutchinson explained, they can take time to develop social skills with their peers, and establish the foundations of literacy, numeracy, and problem-solving skills.
As a result, they are better equipped to deal with school and achieve better learning outcomes, she said.
Hutchinson also explained the subsidy would help the sector cope with a current oversupply of early learning services.
“Without a comprehensive planning approach by the government, we have a situation where many centres aren’t full and have the capacity to enroll many more children,” she said.
The CEO of Front Project, Jane Hunt, believes the changes would be vital to help families struggling during the COVID-19-induced recession.
“Access to affordable and high-quality early childhood education services are vital for parents to be able to return to work to secure their family’s financial situation,” said Hunt
“We need more families with more money in their pocket and more time to invest in their careers and the economy,” she said.