Mums in Australia need policies to rectify the $876K penalty in lost wages and super that accumulate over the course of their lives as a result of inadequate paid parental leave and unaffordable and inaccessible early learning and care.
“Our report, Back Of The Pack, shows that with better paid parental leave and access to affordable childcare, the average Australian woman would earn an additional $696,000 over her working life and retire with an additional $180,000 in superannuation,” Georgie Dent, The Parenthood Executive Director, said.
“Mums in Australia remain structurally disadvantaged when it comes to their ability to participate in paid work. The price they pay – individually and collectively – is devastating. From poverty to housing stress to violence to uncertainty to fear,” Dent said.
“Gratitude and platitudes will not address the entrenched inequity mums in Australia face. Only reform will.”
“It is time for bi-partisan support for expanded paid parental leave, including superannuation, and universal access to high quality early childhood education and care. These reforms will transform the lives of women and children, while boosting productivity and safe-guarding our future.”
“Mother’s Day is an opportunity to say that retiring in poverty, or living in fear, is an unacceptable and indecent price that any woman ought to pay for spending her life caring for others.”
On Mother’s Day in 2015 the then-Social Services Minister, Scott Morrison promised Australian families a ‘once in a generation’ reform to make early childhood education and care more affordable and accessible.
“Seven years on, childcare in Australia is more expensive than ever before and is becoming increasingly less accessible. The latest CPI data showed that the out of pocket costs for childcare are 28% higher on Mother’s Day 2022 than they were in 2015. These cost increases have occurred despite the government significantly increasing spending via the Childcare Subsidy.”
“In Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne, parents are paying fees of up to $180 a day which makes working unaffordable. There were 70,000 Australians out of work in February 2022 due to the high cost of childcare and most of them are mums.
“When childcare bills are coupled with the taxation system many ‘secondary earners’ - typically women - face an effective marginal taxation rate above 75 per cent,” Dent said.
“Staff vacancies in the sector have doubled since the start of the pandemic and almost 15% of long daycare centres did not meet national requirements for staffing in the first quarter of 2022,” Dent said. “Further, nine million Australian families live in a “childcare desert” where there are more than three children for every available early learning position.
“The subsidy model doesn’t work and the system clearly isn’t working for educators. Addressing the workforce crisis and early learning reform is about improving the lives of Australian children, women and families and it will grow our economy at the same time.
“Ahead of the 21 May Election we urge all political parties and candidates to commit to reform.”
ABS CPI data available here:
MEDIA CONTACT: For interviews with Executive Director Georgie Dent call 0400 437 434