Parent considers moving to Brazil to work remotely as ECEC availability falls
The Sector > Economics > Affordability & Accessibility > Parent considers moving to Brazil to work remotely as ECEC availability falls

Parent considers moving to Brazil to work remotely as ECEC availability falls

by Freya Lucas

November 14, 2022

Jess Greening is the mother to four-month-old Domininc, and has found a novel, and perhaps extreme, solution to the challenges she is facing in accessing early childhood education and care (ECEC), which she recently shared with ABC Journalist Anna Chisholm. 


Dominic is on the waiting list for four ECEC services convenient to the family home, having been placed on the lists before his gender and name were known. With no idea when, or if, a place will be offered, Ms Greening – a chartered accountant – has developed a novel “work around” to allow her to go back to work. 


A Brazillian by birth, her plan involves returning home to live with her parents, where she hopes to work three days a week between 8pm and 1am local time in a remote capacity for her employer.


Ms Greening moved to the regional community of Wangaratta with her husband, a wine maker, at around the same time as learning she was pregnant. She says if she was aware of how challenging it would be to access care for her son, she “probably would not have come”.


She will go back to Brazil to visit her family over Christmas, but wonders how the family will cope during vintage (January to May) when, without access to ECEC, she will “struggle to do anything”. 


“I grew up with all the women in my family going back to work after having kids,” she shared with the ABC, “and I wanted to do the same.” 


Ms Greening’s story is one which is familiar to Wangaratta Mayor Dean Rees, who told the ABC that “the region has a big childcare (sic.) problem.”


While he welcomed the news of higher child care subsidy (CCS) for families from July 2023, and the news that the Federal Government plans to spend $4.7 billion on ECEC over the next four years, he believes “it’s not enough”. 


Ms Greening agreed, saying that while the subsidies “look good on paper” until there are “enough childcare centres, with enough staff, there’s no point making it cheap”.


“It will just create more demand,” she says.


Wangaratta is a region which is growing, the Mayor continued, and services “haven’t been able to keep up”. 


He would like to see private ECEC providers in the community, fearing that an ECEC shortage may stifle progress in the area.


“If people decide to leave and go back to Melbourne because there’s more availability for childcare (sic.) elsewhere, we’re just going to lose staff and that’s just going to close businesses,” he told the ABC.


To read the original coverage of this story, please see here

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