Parent Taking Child To Pre School

The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) has called on governments around the country to prioritise childcare to support working women.

NAWIC said election promises on childcare are still falling short of adequately supporting women’s participation in the building and construction industry.

The recent announcement by the New South Wales Government to deliver one of the biggest education reforms in a generation follows a wave of election promises around childcare.

But NAWIC questioned whether it is enough to actually make a difference in the lives of working women, particularly those involved in the construction industry.

The announcement of $5.8 billion set to be invested over ten years to introduce universal pre-Kindergarten for all children in New South Wales by 2030 is one of the most significant reforms in recent times, and is one which NAWIC wholeheartedly supports.

NAWIC National Chair, Christina Yiakkoupis, said the cost benefit of putting a child through childcare versus going to work has been a barrier for women to get back into the workforce.

“This is a great initiative for New South Wales and we would love to see the other states follow suit in the coming years,” Ms Yiakkoupis said.

NAWIC also very much applauds the Federal Government’s election promises of extending the subsidy to after-hours care (ensuring this includes earlier starts from 5am and not just late afternoon hours), as well as amending legislation to include payment of Superannuation on parental leave.

However, NAWIC said many further changes still need to be made to Australia’s childcare system to fully support working women, particularly in the construction industry.

NAWIC has created a series of recommendations which include endorsing the Australian Gender Equality Council’s (AGEC) recommendation seeking free universal childcare, as well as calling on the Federal Government to amend legislation to allow for portability of parental and carer’s leave entitlements.

“We recommend the Federal Government consider innovative policies and programs that address parental leave in transitional industries with inflexible working hours such as construction, where employee’s service to the industry is recognised,” Ms Yiakkoupis said.

“This allows them to bank or transfer parental leave entitlements similar to that of QLeave, which provides an equitable and efficient system of portability of long service leave in the building and construction industry.”

NAWIC said, with Australia currently listed as 31/41 in childcare affordability, it is imperative that these reforms are made to help support women’s participation in industries such as construction.

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