Caution on Clubs Childcare Push
16 September 2014 at 10:48 am
Supporting tax exemptions for clubs to provide childcare would not be in the best interests of children or child development according to welfare Not for Profit, The Benevolent Society.
In its submission to the Productivity Commission into Childcare and Early Childhood Education and Care, The Benevolent Society says it supports all measures that will ensure participation of all Australian children in quality early childhood education and care, and opposed any recommendations that would raise barriers to participation of vulnerable or disadvantaged children.
However it said the expansion of childcare services needs to have the best interests of children firmly at the centre of policy and not blur the issue with the business interests of any industry, including the gambling and alcohol industries.
"Children themselves say they don’t like being left in kids rooms in clubs and pubs, so there’s a big question mark over what the experience would be for very young children so we urge caution about any proposal which links the gambling industry with early childhood education," Anne Hollonds, Benevolent Society spokesperson said.
Research by the Australian National University last year, in partnership with The Benevolent Society and the National Association for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN) conducted in depth interviews with more than 100 children aged eight to 12.
The Putting the Pieces in Place report found that what frightens children the most is being around drunk adults, and they named children’s rooms in clubs as their least favourite places.
“If the main motivation for offering childcare in clubs is to make use of a tax exemption for providing social services, as suggested in media reports about the Clubs Australia proposal, we would hope the Productivity Commission and Federal and State Governments would view it with caution,” Hollonds said.
“There is legitimate concern about the unintended consequences of exposing children to the club environment, and of a childcare service providing an additional enticement for parents to spend time in clubs.
A submission from Price Waterhouse Cooper, based on their report Putting a value on early childhood education and care in Australia showed the long term benefit to the economy of increasing the number of vulnerable children in quality early learning.
It said this will add more than $20 billion to our gross domestic product over the next four decades – more than triple the value of increasing workforce participation of mothers.
"It's commendable that the Government will continue funding universal preschool access for all four year-olds for 15 hours a week for at least another year, and we urge the Government and the Productivity Commission to realise the full value to our future prosperity of ensuring maximum participation of Australian children under five in quality early childhood education and care,” Hollonds said.