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Issue #1664      November 12, 2014

Childcare, a key vote decider: new poll

One week after the Treasurer received the Productivity Commission report into childcare a new poll has revealed childcare is a vote decider for an overwhelming majority of voters in Treasurer Joe Hockey’s and Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen’s Sydney electorates.

The poll was conducted for United Voice, the early childhood union, by ReachTEL in the electorates of North Sydney (Joe Hockey) and McMahon (Chris Bowen).

David O’Byrne, United Voice national secretary, says, “This sends a strong message to the Treasurer and Shadow Treasurer that increased investment in young children and better wages for educators are important to Australian voters.

“Childcare is a vote decider for 70 percent of voters in these electorates. This reflects the reality faced by families across the country: our childcare and early learning system desperately needs government to invest adequately in this essential service.”

Key poll results:

  • Childcare and early years education are important vote deciders: 70.6% North Sydney; 72.7% McMahon
  • A majority want government to invest more into childcare and early years education: 54.1% North Sydney; 57.7% McMahon
  • A majority believe childcare educators should be paid more: 57% North Sydney; 53.5% McMahon
  • A majority support means-testing of childcare benefits: 57.2% North Sydney; 59.8% McMahon
  • The poll shows that in the last year the Liberal Party vote has dropped from 61% to 45% in their heartland of North Sydney

“At just 0.45% of GDP Australia’s early childcare sector is chronically underfunded.  New Zealand manages more than double this. In Sweden funding is 1.9% of GDP,” points out O’byrne.

“It is the responsibility of all parties, in government and in opposition, to ensure children benefit from any changes. No child should be worse off and, to do this, educators’ wages must be lifted from current levels.

“Educators are dedicated professionals and the back-bone of our childcare system. But with 180 people leaving the sector every week there is a crisis.

“This is a challenge for Australia: if we don’t address educators’ wages, the country cannot deliver the additional 24,000 employees who will be needed over the next five years.

“This will have inevitable consequences for women’s ability to return to the workforce. Neither government nor the opposition can allow this to happen.”

Next article – Conservatives campaign for abolition of ABC services

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