Universal Childcare

Universal Childcare

Right now, for many families, early education and childcare is just for those who can afford to pay. It should be public, universal, and free. 

Childcare is privatised, expensive and hard to access.

Childcare is too expensive. Since 2012, prices have increased faster than either housing or electricity.

It is difficult or impossible for many parents to find a space, especially in the inner-city and rural Queensland. Waiting lists can be very long, especially for high-quality services.

The private child care sector and their landlords made $1 billion in profits Australia-wide in 2016. Rental payments to landlords make up a significant and growing portion of costs which are ultimately paid by parents and governments.

We can do better for our kids.

All Queensland kids deserve the best start in life. Research shows participating in a preschool program for two years, rather than one, has a huge impact on a child’s outcomes and life chances.

 

Universal Childcare

Just like school education, early education and child care is a fundamental right. Right now, for many families, early education and child care is just for those who can afford to pay. It should be public, universal, and free. 

Ages 2 – 4

The Queensland Greens will create universal access to free, high-quality childcare and kindergarten for all Queensland kids aged three and four years old for at least three days per week, and one day per week for two year olds. This plan would give 200,000 Queensland kids access to more childcare.

Every kid and family would be eligible to access this entitlement, no matter what their income or work situation.

New Places and Centres

We would also create 17,500 new places in public or community child care and kindergarten by building 250 new government-funded centres to be run publicly or by the community and non-profit sector. Those new centres would be concentrated in areas with a shortage of childcare places, or areas of increased disadvantage. 

Good, Steady Jobs

Childcare and early childhood education should provide good steady jobs with decent pay, especially since the vast majority of workers are casual, part time and female. Our plan would guarantee good pay and job security for workers in the expanded public childcare system, pushing up pay for everyone. 

The total cost of our plan is $5.4 billion over five years. We would fund this ambitious expansion of early education by making sure big corporations pay their fair share.

Labor and the LNP are addicted to corporate donations, and until they kick the habit and tax big corporations and the very wealthy, we won’t be able to afford the ambitious expansion of universal services like childcare.

 

two kids painting at a childcare centre 

Extra days for more kids

The Greens will provide free childcare and kindergarten for all kids aged 3 and 4 years old, for at least three days per week and to 2 year olds for one day per week. Parents could choose to use these extra days in either the public or private sector. This plan would give 200,000 Queensland kids access to extra childcare. 

Age group Current situation The Greens’ plan
Age 2 No universal access Universal access to one day per week
Age 3 No universal access Universal access to three days per week
Age 4 Universal access to two days per week Universal access to three days per week

Of course, the childcare should not be compulsory. Parents should have a right to decide how many days, if any, to put their child in early education every week.

Public childcare and more places

The Greens believe that childcare is a basic service which should be run in the best interests of kids, not to make a profit.

As part of a gradual transition towards public provision, the Queensland Greens would provide direct government funding for 250 extra or expanded centres, or 17,500 extra places over 5 year at a total cost of $750 million.

The newly expanded public childcare system would offer services free at the point of delivery by taking advantage of our plan for universal access plan explained above, and would not charge any additional fees.

Those new centres would be concentrated in areas with a shortage of childcare places, or areas of increased disadvantage.

Within five years public childcare will be a major player, to compete with the private sector and to provide a serious alternative anywhere in the State.

The government will aim to build these centres within or adjoining existing schools where space is available, to improve convenience and eliminate the “double drop off” and to save on rent.

child on slide

Good steady jobs for childcare workers

The first years of a child’s life are fundamental to their development, so workers in early childhood education should treated with the respect they deserve.

Childcare should provide good steady jobs with decent pay. The Queensland Greens’ plan includes a commitment to signing a new enterprise agreement with childcare workers and their union representatives to guarantee better pay, access to permanency and job security across the expanded public childcare sector.

A high-quality childcare for every kid

The Queensland Greens would create a whole of government Early Years Strategy to make sure all Queensland kids get the support they need.

To support the large expansion of the public and non-profit childcare sector, the Queensland Greens would invest $250 million over 5 years via a Childcare Sector Development Fund to help workforce skills development and for other targeted assistance.

Our plan for universal access would be supported by targeted plan for outreach to disadvantaged and marginalised families and address barriers to participation. This would be supported by a $100 million investment over five years. Existing specialised support and subsidies for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, regional and low income kids would remain.

How much would it cost?

The total cost of our plan is $5.4 billion over five years. Our plan is fully costed, and details are available.

We would fund this ambitious expansion of early education by making sure big corporations pay their fair share. Our plan is fully funded by previous announcements including raising mining royalties and making property developers pay their fair share of tax.