Without affordable ECEC, Australia cannot economically recover, CEW says

Without affordable ECEC, Australia cannot economically recover, CEW says

by Freya Lucas

April 08, 2021

Making early childhood education and care (ECEC) more affordable is “the single best policy lever” to increase female workforce participation, and get Australia back on track economically, advocacy group Chief Executive Women (CEW) has outlined. 


CEW has a ‘mutual passion’ to negotiate and advocate for representation of female leaders and to provide “a safe haven” for women seeking to share their experiences in the boardrooms and C-suites of Australia. 


In a statement issued recently, CEW outlined that without significant change, “Australia will continue to squander the investment in, and productivity of, more than half its highly educated, well trained and very experienced workforce,” cautioning that as Australia rebuilds from the social and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, “we simply cannot afford to leave good talent on the sidelines.”


“Available, affordable, flexible, quality childcare is a crucial enabler for workforce participation right across the income scale,” a spokesperson noted. 


“Yet an unintended consequence of the Child Care Subsidy (CCS) is that while primary carers are supported in taking up part-time work, they face high barriers to stepping into full-time work.”


For women re-entering the workforce, seeking work, considering increasing their hours or days of work, or taking on a second job, the choice to do so is often determined by the financial impact arising from the cost of care. 


“Every worker who is offered a job should be able to take up that job. Every worker who is offered a shift should be able to take up that shift. And every worker who is offered a few extra hours of work should have an incentive to work those extra hours,” CEW said.


Ahead of the anticipated delivery of the next Federal Budget in October, CEW members and cross sectoral partners have collaborated to ‘chart a course’ for the reform and investment they believe is needed for Australia to unlock full participation and productivity.


“CEW will continue working with our members and the Government over the coming months to develop an amended system to deliver accessible, flexible, quality early childhood education and care as a key enabler of workforce participation,” CEW said in closing.


For more information about the importance of childcare for productivity and economic growth, please see here