Childcare: Are grandparents still being shortchanged? 76



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The Turnbull government’s proposed changes to the childcare system could allow many Australian grandparents to access childcare subsidies.

However, this massive overhaul is currently facing some serious opposition from both Labor and the Greens, who, according to The New Daily, have raised some serious concerns about these plans. Is this truly the right way forward?

The new legislation would allow grandparents who are primary carers to receive support – without the work or study previously required – for up to 100 hours of childcare per fortnight.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham said that almost 3900 grandparents would benefit from these changes.

“Importantly here for grandparents and their grandchildren, we’re making sure that support is available for children who are often vulnerable and in need of additional learning,” he said.

“And valuable respite for those grandparents who are delivering an amazing service to help care for their grandchildren when their parents are not in a position to do so”.

These changes – which would provide $3 billion worth of total extra funding for childcare – aren’t necessarily great news to higher income earners, whose rebate will be cut. These savings will be passed on to lower income earners. Those receiving between $65,000 and $170,000 will be approximately $1,500 better off per year.

The changes will be proposed this week in Parliament’s last sitting for the year – but it could be some time before our politicians reach an agreement.

“We support anything that helps lower income families,” said Labor deputy leader Tanya Plibersek, “but remember that this government still has a lack of clarity around a number of aspects around this policy”.

Labor also raised concerns about the existing red tape to the system. Kate Ellis, Labor spokeswoman for early childhood, suggested it could add to the already-long waiting lists.

“This government promised to make childcare simpler but it will be more bureaucratic with confusing rules that will make it harder for parents to go back to work,” she said.

“One in four families stand to be worse off under the Government’s childcare changes and the new system will still short change grandparents, despite the Government’s best spin efforts”.

The Greens have already promised they would not let the legislation pass this year – at least not until it has more transparency.

Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young said the system was still tough on parents.

“That’s not going to make it easier for mums to enter the workforce. In fact it’s going to make it more difficult,” she said.

Where do you stand on this debate? Should Australian grandparents receive support for childcare? Are these changes the right way forward?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Everybody wants support for something. Why? I need to be paid to look after my Grandchildren! No thanks!!

  2. Many a shopping voucher so they can stock up on drinks and snacks but I’d mind mine in a heart beat for free

  3. I mind mine because childcare is so expensive. My children can only afford 1-2 days a week. I have to admit that as I get older it’s getting harder. After 40 years teaching and caring for other people’s children I sometimes feel the need to chill out. But love draws me back.

    1 REPLY
    • Yes will your children put their retirement on hold for their grandchildren like you I doubt it but as they say we’re the lucky grey nomads. Yes we do it because we love our children and grandchildren but it is a lot of hard work and I don’t think they have a clue

  4. I think grandparents who are full time carers for their grandchildren deserve support both financially and with Childcare. Those of us who look after their grandchildren on a part time basis are in a different situation and most of us do it happily and for free. It is very different though when for whatever reason a grandparent takes over 24/7 care of their grandchild/ren at a time in their lives when they think they finally have some time for themselves.

  5. Some grandparents are doing it tough raising there grandchildren . They have full time care of there granchildren who would otherwise be living in terrible cirumstance’s . It’s about time they got help with Childcare . There not being paid to look after them it’s so the grandparents can send them to childcare if they need to .

  6. Without meddling into what side of Politics is right, I think if you have sole responsibility for any children including your grandchildren, you should be given the same rights and help that parents are given. It is hard enough manage on a pension without having to support young children as well

  7. If they are talking about grandparents who have care of their grandchildren,24/7. I say yes, but babysitting while their parents work. A Resounding no! A labour of love!

    5 REPLY
  8. I give thanks every day for the privilege of being able to look after my grandchild whenever necessary.

    4 REPLY
    • Yes, I understand that. My point is that I am grateful for the opportunity and would do it full time if I had to because that’s what families are supposed to be about.

    • Yes and when you look after the grandchildren 24 7 you would understand it’s so the grandparents can have a break or need to go to early appointments or late ones they can have childcare. Yes I’m sure they would love to look after there grandchildren whenever but they don’t a choice . They have them 247

    • If they need the help, that’s fine. But we all know there will be those who will expect it whether they do or not…

  9. Grandparents who are primary custodians of grandchildren need all the support they can get. Grandparents who choose to care for children while their parents work, that is a whole different story and they should not be eligible for this support as they are not primary custodians. I can’t believe they class income of $170,000 as lower income. According to this my children are poverty stricken. High income earners should be not eligible for childcare subsidy.

    3 REPLY
    • I agree with you about the really high earners, but raise the question in relation to the allowable upper end. Is this pre or post tax? I haven’t worked for a long time, so I don’t know what the tax rates are. What are the thresholds that each rate kick in. Are lower income families subsidised in other areas? It just seems like a King Solomon situation.

    • Judith Leeming I read it as $170,000 as pre tax. I have no idea about tax rates. All I know is that my daughter would probably earn less than half that amount.

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