NANNIES and grandparents could be paid to look after children if they are TAFE qualified under a plan to overhaul Australia's complicated childcare system.
The raft of childcare subsidies currently available should be replaced with a single, means-tested payment that would go directly to the parents' choice of provider, according to a draft report by the Productivity Commission.
Those on a family income of $60,000 or less would get 90 per cent of the cost of childcare covered and the payment would taper so that families on $300,000 or more would get 30 per cent.
'Means-testing the childcare rebate will mean that more families on very low incomes will pay less for their childcare than they do now. We expect low income families would see around 90% of their reasonable childcare fees paid by Government,' Commissioner Dr Wendy Craik said.
Other key recommendations from the draft childcare report include:
- Nannies being eligible for childcare subsidies subject to appropriate qualifications (au pairs would not be eligible).
- Removing restrictions on the number of child care places for occasional care and the hours that centres have to be open in order to receive Government subsidies.
- School principals being responsible for ensuring schools offer before and after school care, including care for preschoolers.
- A continuation of Government support for access to preschool for all children in the year before starting school.
- Increasing funding and subsidies for children with disabilities and additional needs.
The Productivity Commission's preliminary economic modelling found that implementation of their measures would most likely result in up to 47 000 more full-time people entering the workforce.
The economy-wide impacts of this are likely to be relatively small, with a GDP impact of, at most, an additional $5.5 billion, but the social significance of this should not be underestimated.
The Commission is inviting submissions on the draft report, its recommendations and information requests by 5 September 2014.
The Commission will hold public hearings in various locations during August.