“Childcare shouldn’t be a postcode lottery,” Kean said. “Families should have access to affordable childcare no matter where they live to give their child the best start in life.
“Giving women access to affordable childcare will help narrow the workforce participation gap and could grow household incomes by $22,000.
“Taking action to increase women’s participation in the workforce is the right thing to do for equality and the best thing to do for our economy.”
Childcare has become the biggest single spending measure in the federal Labor campaign with a $5.4 billion pledge to increase subsidies for 96 per cent of families.
Under the plan, Labor would lift the maximum child care subsidy rate to 90 per cent for families for the first child in care and increase subsidy rates for every family with one child in care earning less than $530,000 in household income.
The state government is shaping its policy around research by the Mitchell Institute, which found areas with the greatest supply of childcare are the same areas where providers charge higher fees.
Areas with lower access to childcare have lower levels of workforce participation for
women with a child under five, the research shows, and the areas where more childcare places are available have higher female workforce participation.
The Mitchell Institute also found that lower levels of female workforce participation in an area would affect demand for childcare, while difficulty in accessing childcare may lead to parents choosing not to participate in the workforce while their children are young.
Kean said research from Victoria University’s Centre of Policy Studies showed that investment in childcare almost pays for itself, due to higher workforce participation.
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