Thursday, May 11, 2006

Market forces and childcare

The AFR this morning had an interesting article about the budget plans to improve childcare.Apparently, the way in which this government will improve childcare is to "improve market intelligence".
"Family and Community Services Minister Mal Brough is adamant that leaving the
provision of childcare to the market will solve problems of undersupply, despite
the industry warning that market forces have failed so far....Mr Brough said
he was confident more family day-care providers would open when the government
was able to give them up-to-date information about levels of supply and demand."

This "solution" seems to suggest that family-day-care providers (who remember, are only allowed to care for a maximum of five children at a time, in their own house, and often that includes one or two of their own), are such accomplished business people that they will go to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, check out where there is a gap in the market, move house to that location, and then start up their new business.

Really? Could it be that the reason that there are few family day care providers in the areas that need them - areas which have a lot of two-income families - is because only two income families can afford to live there? And family day care does not provide a wonderful income, particularly if, as is often the case, two of the children are your own.

The government is pinning its hopes on new family day-care services opening
in areas of undersupply when rules preventing the duplication of care are

A separate article in the AFR today has the headline: "It's the same old message to mothers: stay at home". This article shows that, as usual, dual income families have received less from the budget than single income families with the same income. The AFR says that "Treasury analysis of how the family tax benefits and tax cuts will be distributed has confirmed working mothers are still better off staying home."

I think that's the real story.


At 9:37 pm, Anonymous Beanie Baby said...

OUr government is pulling similar shenanigans right now--telilng us that tax credits for creating daycare spaces which have never in the past created a single daycare space anywhere in the country, this timw will magically work and lo these many thousands of daycare spaces will be created.

Uh huh. Right.

At 1:05 pm, Blogger Susoz said...

I may have said this before, but a friend manages a family day care in the inner west and they have problems finding carers, precisely because of the gentification of that area, so there are fewer women who want to stay home and mind kids for a pittance. Plus those 'career women' tend to have been sold on daycare centres as offering more certainty of supervision and regulations, so there is less demand for family day care in the affluent areas.


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