Grandparent payment plan sparks big debate
CLARENCE Valley grandparents have expressed concern over a key point of a proposal to overhaul the nation's childcare system.
As well as replacing childcare rebates with a single means-tested payment, a draft report by the Productivity Commission proposes grandparents who look after children be eligible for government payments if they get a TAFE qualification of a Cert III or higher in early childhood education.
This would also apply to nannies or anyone willing to undergo the course.
Some said they saw it as an opportunity for older people to make an extra income and upskill their education, but others disagreed.
Grafton grandmother Fran Munce looks after her two-year-old grandson on a weekly basis and said she couldn't bring herself to receive payment for looking after him.
"I think it's special to have quality time with your grandchild," she said.
"I find it insulting that I would need to get a qualification to get that money, but I'd feel horrible knowing I'm charging someone to look after my own grandson (even if I had a childcare qualification)."
Clarence Valley Kindred Carers Children Support Group president Margaret Bowles, like many who responded to a post on The Daily Examiner's Facebook page, said she too found the proposal insulting.
"Personally I think there will be an uproar if it goes ahead," she said.
"I think a lot of the grandparents have got more skills than what their kids have."
Mrs Bowles raised three of her own grandchildren and regularly babysits one of her great-grandchildren.
"There are a lot of grandparents raising their grandchildren full-time and to get a contribution from (the Department of Family and Community Services) we didn't have to go to TAFE," she said.
"If people want to do the course by all means let the government put the courses on for free, but don't make it mandatory."
Qualifications aside, the great-grandmother from Wooli said she could see the benefits in being paid to be a part-time child carer.
"I think it's good and (the money) should be tax exempt so it doesn't affect people's pensions," she said.
"People do give up a lot of their time and things they normally do to lend a hand to parents in need of daycare."
CLARENCE Valley residents are encouraged to share their thoughts on the draft Productivity Commission Inquiry report in Child Care and Early Childhood Learning.
Submissions close September 5. Head to http://www.pc.gov. au/projects/inquiry /childcare.