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Women's forum calls for more professional, fairer and accessible childcare

21 Aug 2014

A high powered women's forum has called for sweeping changes to Australia's childcare system to ensure that it is more professionally run, provides higher quality care and is accessible to all children irrespective of socioeconomic circumstances.

The event, hosted by the Business School, also called for childcare fees and a taxation system that encouraged women to participate in the workforce.

It included representatives of Women on Boards and the National Foundation of Australian Women, and was aimed at providing input into the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Childcare and Early Childhood Learning.

Forum members concluded that Australia is in need of a childcare system that has a professionally qualified and highly paid workforce, more affordable fees and eligibility criteria that provides quality care to all children of working parents.

"More broadly we need a better understanding of the actual cost of delivering centre based childcare and changes to the current tax system that acts as a disincentive to women's workforce participation," said the Business School's Professor Marian Baird.

Chair of the Social Policy Committee of the National Foundation for Australian Women, Marie Coleman said the attendees made it possible for more debate and questioning on the issues that matter.

"The recommendations from the forum will hopefully be another step in the right direction for positive, meaningful change," Ms Coleman said.

The event was addressed by Presiding Commissioner of the Inquiry into Childcare and Early Childhood Learning, Dr Wendy Craik.

"I greatly appreciated the opportunity to get feedback on our draft report from a wide range of interested parties," Dr Craik said . "Some very helpful and practical suggestions and ideas came out of the workshop which we will consider in our revisions of the report."

The commission is due to finalise the report in October this year.