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Tuesday, 9 October 2012
Page: 11676

Mr WYATT (Hasluck) (16:32): I rise today to highlight an increasingly important sector in the community—one that needs more attention from government—the childcare sector. People in this sector across Hasluck and wider Australia do a fantastic job. Our economy would experience tremendous difficulty if hundreds of thousands of working mothers across Australia had to step away from the workplace to care for their child or children at home full time. I cannot think of a more important job than being a part of our future and of Australia's early learning and wellbeing. However, there are significant improvements and modifications that can be made to the sector to help improve its productivity, profitability and standard of care.

A major issue is the high turnover of staff, which creates instability for employers and, more importantly, for the children in care. There are also added expectations from families for out-of-hours care, for school-aged holiday care and for before and after school care that require extra staff and resources. These challenges are complex. They require more than just words. This area is one that a coalition government will look immediately to improve should we win the next election. It is also to cut down on the amount of red tape and regulation placed on childcare operators.

Times are changing and we, as legislators and parliamentarians, must change with them. There is no room for trite attacks around class warfare from those opposite. In the 21st century not everybody works nine to five. We need a childcare system that caters for these people. In-house nannies and in-home arrangements are also on the rise in Australia, including in my electorate of Hasluck. Supporting the increase in the number of nannies is not about looking after the wealthy, which is a lazy argument from this tired government. It is about flexibility in supplying an area of demand with a service. It is about supporting those without a family network or people in rural communities. A stronger, more flexible childcare regime will encourage and support more women to become included in the workforce.

To help have the voices of my electorate heard I invited the shadow minister for childcare and early childhood learning, the Hon. Sussan Ley MP, to Hasluck to meet with workers and those in management at childcare facilities. One of the places we went to was Buggles Childcare in Forrestfield, and Sussan and I were both very impressed with the level of advocacy given by its CEO, senior management and staff. People who have been in the industry for decades deserve to have their voices heard. They deserve to have their issues raised federally. I thank Sussan for visiting this and other businesses in Hasluck, and finish by saying that a stronger, more productive childcare system is only possible in this country if the coalition is returned to power. Let me also say that there are members in our chamber who access services and who have need of them, and I certainly recommend that the member for Blair exercise those opportunities in the future. (Time expired)