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The Australian Services Union (ASU), with over 100 years representing local government workers, including child care workers in that sector, believes local government should play a role.
This means connecting back into the organisations that provide maternal child health services, immunisation programs, mobile libraries, baby capsule hire, health services and so on. Local government simply provides the best child care services within an integrated service to the community.
The best solution for child care centres is for them to be owned and run by local councils. That means everyone wins with better quality services and secure jobs as well as local integration with families and other vital local government services.
KIDS: Better local services mean better care for kids.
PARENTS: Better local services mean their children receive a higher standard of care. It means access to an integrated service including maternal health and immunisation.
CHILD CARE STAFF: Better local services mean better rewards for hard working staff. It means broader career opportunities as well as higher levels of training and skills development.
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT: Better local services mean no need to bailout failed businesses.
- The Education Revolution starts in child care
Child care is more than child minding. It is an opportunity to assist in the nurturing and growth of the next generation of Australians. It can also set children on a path of good health, nutrition, and lifelong learning.
It is an essential service that needs proper investment and regulation to align the needs of children with the skills of carers.
- Quality - comes before profit
Clear quality benchmarks are needed. Profit should be an added bonus but should never be the primary focus of the provider.
- Proper planning and regulation
There is simply not a co-ordinated plan in place. Planning for population changes allows for the right resources to be in the right communities at the right time.
The role of a government agency which can monitor and allocate the right resources in demographic cycles is a must. It is often not about spending more - but putting the right resources in the right place at the right time.
- Links to other children's services, eg. maternal child health, primary school
Local government can integrate existing child care services such as maternal health, immunisation along with toy and book libraries. It can work with primary schools to create a high quality first step in children's education.
Local government is connected to local communities who will have some ownership in making decisions about their children's future.
- Local government is the 'right' place for child care
Simply put, local government is the best long term solution for the future of child care in Australia.
Many child care centres in Australia operate under the auspices of the local councils, hence the ASU's coverage. Child carers' skills and responsibilities have historically been undervalued.
It is our role to improve the employment conditions and career paths of child carers and afford them the recognition they deserve.
Other issues affecting our child care members include cuts to Commonwealth subsidies to users of children's services, the prevention of intrusive surveillance equipment by employers and eliminating the unfair use of casual/relief labour in this area.