Business

Rethink of childcare needed to get mums back to work

I FINISHED last week's column with: "Government must provide the platform for Australia to move forward, and that means stopping the rot in our decade-long ailing productivity. The key? Get our women back to work for one."

Fifty per cent of those who finish Year 12 are girls.

A significant number enter university. Others do other tertiary qualifications. The skills they acquire are lost to us for extensive periods in the cycle of their lives for one reason and one reason only.

Successive governments have not seen the wisdom in getting a child-minding regime in place that will encourage our skilled women to make the contribution they're trained for.

Women should be allowed, no encouraged, to make their choices. Many women find being a stay-at-home mum unfulfilling and there is much research to indicate that child-minding has a positive, not negative, effect on children's development and wellbeing.

The main thrust of my contention in last week's finale was that it is government which has the responsibility and power to encourage women into the workforce and stabilise unemployment.

In 2008 during the global financial crisis it was entirely appropriate for the Rudd government to throw money at pink batts and school buildings as the economy had to be stimulated to avoid recession.

The problem was Labor's naive management of these packages.

Equally, it is entirely inappropriate for the Abbott government to continue those Keynesian policies of fiscal largesse and we're seeing signs that they understand that.

They've effectively jettisoned the car manufacturing industry, denied SPC a cash injection, signed free-trade agreements with South Korea and Thailand, and will boost business by ending the carbon and mining taxes and re-introducing the vital Australian Building and Construction Commission.

What this sort of "dry" economics does is reduce the nation's debt as Abbott keeps saying, but more importantly it gives the government the loot to direct towards improving national productivity.

A skilled workforce is the key to productivity and where are our dormant skills right now? At home with young mums.

The Productivity Commission must address the immense problem of how to get women to work - as a priority.

The key is throwing out current thinking on child minding and maybe even replacing it with a free system.

Where does the money come from? Saving on middle-class welfare, dumping inconsistencies like providing drought relief to pastoralists, propping up Qantas (in the face of our new "no grants to poorly managed industries" policy), subsidising relationship counselling and maternity leave, and fixing a very broken tax system.

I mean, seriously, what skilled mum would reckon it's better value for Abbott to levy big business to pay new mums up to $75,000pa to stay home for six months than help them get to work and use their skills?

Yet Abbot might be onto something. My view is that the commission should look at a model where employers can pay for child minding as part of an EBA and gain exemption from Fringe Benefits Tax.

Inputs in such a model would include the $6.8 billion spent by government on subsidies last year going up at a rate of about 10% per annum.

The loss of FBT income would not be a relevant input as the benefit would be a "new" thing.

The cost of the deduction to company tax receipts would, however, be an input in such a model.

Of course, such a plan would require a far more flexible industrial relations system than we have had since the advent of Fair Work Australia.

Solve this problem, and at once solve the skills shortage and our waning productivity. That's the challenge.

Author and researcher Leslie Cannold shares her opinion on this topic here.

Topics:  bob lamont childcare federal government gladstone business



5 minutes with Israel Folau on footy, life and love

WE CAUGHT up with football star and Brisbane ex-pat Israel Folau on footy, life and that engagement to netball glamour Maria Tutaia.

Five mammoth events you need in your life

No Caption

BRISBANE isn’t known for doing things by halves…

10 reasons to head to South Bank this summer

Head to the only inner-city beach in Australia!

South Bank has a ridiculous amount of fun things to do.

Foodies' scavenger hunt: are you up for it?

Heaven on a stick - check out Queen of Pops.

FOR many of us, food is life.

How to make your child's every dream come true...

Take a dip at South Bank in the inner-city beach.

‘I DON’T want to do fun things, Mum and Dad’… said no child ever!

You can do WHAT in Brisbane?!

Talk about arriving in style! Take your pub crawl to the next level with a helicopter!

BET you didn't know you could do these things in Brisbane...

How to do Eat Street the right way

Know where to start and where to end to avoid a huge food coma before you get to experience all the goodies!

EVERY Friday and Saturday night, Hamilton comes alive.

'Toxic': Man leaves unit with holes in walls, smashed doors

Man charged for causing damage to Gladstone unit.

iPhone and iPad owners need to do this right now

It could stop a hacker controlling your iPhone or iPad

How businesses can cash in on Adani's $16b mega-mine

JOBS COMING: Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Adani's Jeyakumar Janakaraj.

Regional suppliers wanted for Carmichael

Local Partners

40% learner drivers fail test in Gladstone, worst in CQ

GLADSTONE learner drivers are less likely to pass their driving tests than those in Rockhampton, Yeppoon and Mackay, new statistics show.


New Year New Yard

Win $1000 Bunnings Voucher
Learn More

Toowoomba comedian becomes big hit on The Project

BIG NAME: Toowoomba comedian Damien Power will perform his new show Utopia at the Brisbane Comedy Festival in March.

The Toowoomba comedian is preparing for his most hilarious show yet

Wheels are in motion for Adani's operational hub

Capricornia MP Michelle Landry and Rockhampton Region mayor Margaret Strelow are both excited following the Adani business meeting.

Businesses expected to hear from Adani today

Puppetry of the Penis secrets revealed ahead of show

The famed Puppetry of the Penis is coming to the Sunshine Coast for shows in Noosa and Caloundra.

WARNING: This interview contains adult themes and traces of nuts

Toowoomba comedian becomes big hit on The Project

BIG NAME: Toowoomba comedian Damien Power will perform his new show Utopia at the Brisbane Comedy Festival in March.

The Toowoomba comedian is preparing for his most hilarious show yet

'Allo 'Allo! star Gorden Kaye has died

Gorden Kaye, pictured in Brisbane in 2007, found fame as a cafe owner Rene Artois in the iconic British television series ‘Allo ‘Allo!

ACTOR Gorden Kaye, from BBC comedy ‘Allo ‘Allo!, has died.

Lion roars to straight to No 1 at Aussie box office

Nicole Kidman, David Wenham and Sunny Pawar in a scene from the movie Lion.

THE Australian-made movie a hit, while Rogue One nears record mark.

Ozzy Osbourne fell asleep during his driving test

Not a good idea to give Ozzy a Ferrari

Kristen Stewart to host SNL

Kristen Stewart will host a pre-Super Bowl episode of SNL next month

Louis Tomlinson celebrated his son's first birthday

Louis Tomlinson and Briana Jungwirth celebrate son's first birthday

Accusers become accused in tenants from hell story

SPEAKING OUT: Scott Marsen says he doesn't want people to feel sorry for the couple who trashed his home.

Couple whose house was trashed accused of doing the same

Why investors are flocking to Moranbah

Moranbah homes are selling like hotcakes, creating a supply problem

Investors are scrambling to get into the market

Stockland's $150m pitch: Build it and they will come

Gladstone Marina. The Gladstone Regional Council offers a range of exciting job opportunities. Photo Contributed: Murray Ware.

Here's why we need to see Stockland upgrade start soon.

By the water's edge

Secure your seachange

Gladstone market's confidence coming back for 2017

Core Logic property statistics reveal the region's median house price dropped 16.7% to $275,000 in the September quarter.

Region's median house price drops 16.7% to $275,000

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!