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‘Where the hell is all the money going?’: Childcare sector strikes as staff protest pay

Luke Grant

The biggest childcare strike in the nation’s history is set to unfold today, as the workforce walks off the job to protest their pay.

With unionists declaring they will make low wages in the sector an election issue,  the strike comes after the Fair Work Commission turned down a claim childcare workers should be paid as much as men in the manufacturing sector.

It’s expected 40,000 parents will be impacted by the industrial action.

Luke Grant says he sympathises with the workers’ low wages, but does not understand where the exorbitantly high childcare fees are going.

“Nobody would contest the fact that $22.00 an hour isn’t a lot of money,” he says.

“But where the hell is all the money going? There are mum’s and dad’s paying an absolute arm and a leg for childcare services.  So where does it go?”

Senator David Leyonhjelm, Chair of the Senate Committee trying to bring childcare costs down, says over-regulation is escalating prices.

“The Commonwealth Government didn’t pay for childcare a decade ago. Now they spend $9 billion. What’s changed is they’ve gotten involved and regulated. They’ve proscribed a ratio of staff-to-children and have said the people who look after the kids have to have qualifications.”

Leyonhjelm suspects this is putting upward pressure on prices, saying the sector needs simplifying.

“The public policy argument for childcare (and the taxpayer funding it) should be to allow a Mum to get back into the workforce.”

“That does not require such strict ratios, nor does it require such high qualifications on the part of those looking after them.”

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Luke Grant