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November 18th, 2021

The Parenthood: #ParentsUp, a new parent-led campaign initiated by The Parenthood, is calling for a better deal for children.

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The Parenthood: #ParentsUp, a new parent-led campaign initiated by The Parenthood, is calling for a better deal for children

18 November 2021 – Parents around Australia are joining forces with the #ParentsUp campaign to ensure  delivering a better deal for children is a priority for politicians – and voters – ahead of the federal election.

“Raising a child and earning a living in Australia is a struggle for too many families and it’s costing children, parents, women and the economy dearly. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be as hard as it is – there are solutions,” The Parenthood Executive Director Georgie Dent said.

“But we need leaders to recognise the case for change and prioritise the policies that will meaningfully improve the lives and wellbeing of children, parents and families.

“Supporting children starts with supporting their parents and carers. Unfortunately, Australia lags the developed world in the provision of policies that are proven to improve outcomes for children and families.”

Ahead of the federal election the #ParentsUp campaign is calling for political candidates and parties to make commitments to provide:

  • One year of Paid Parental Leave to be shared between parents; and

  • Universal access to quality, inclusive Early Childhood Education and Care and Outside School Hours Care.

“These policies are the ’bridges and roads’ that enable parents and carers to be there for their children and provide for their family,” Dent said.

“They are also shown to dramatically improve health, social, educational and economic outcomes for children, parents and Australia.

“Investing in paid parental leave and early childhood education and care reform represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform our nation. The impact for parents, children and all Australians would be life-changing and help build a better future and stronger economy.

“It is time to deliver a better deal for children.”

In 2020 UNICEF ranked Australia in 32nd place out of 41 nations for child well-being and noted we ‘fall short in delivering consistently good health, education and social outcomes for children’.

When it comes to raising children, Australians are left stranded. With one of the shortest and least adequate paid parental leave schemes in the world and some of the highest out-of-pocket fees for early education and care and outside school hours care, it is incredibly difficult to raise a family and earn a living.

“In February this year more than 140,000 Australians were unemployed because they couldn’t find suitable child care. Another 64,000 wanted to work but weren’t looking for a job because of their caring responsibilities.

“Even before 2021 these issues needed to be addressed, but the coronavirus pandemic has increased the pressure on children and families and has exacerbated the urgent need for reform.

“These policies will deliver a better deal for children, for women and the economy and the time for a better deal is now.

“The cumulative impact of reforming early childhood education and care (ECEC) and paid parental leave (PPL) could increase national GDP by 4.1 per cent in 2050 or $166 billion. If Australia could lift female workplace participation to that of males, it would increase GDP by 8.7 per cent or $353 billion by 2050.”

You can find more information about the campaign here: https://www.theparenthood.org.au/parents_up

MEDIA CONTACT: For interviews with Executive Director Georgie Dent call 0400 437 434 

Case Studies Available on Request 

The Parenthood is Australia’s leading parent advocacy group with a reach of more than 72,000 parents from across Australia.

Background facts on raw deal for Australian parents and children:

  • Among OECD nations Australia has one of the least adequate statutory paid parental leave programs, with just 18 weeks offered at the minimum wage. The OECD average is more than 50 weeks of paid leave.

  • Fathers in Australia take less than 20% of the paternity leave days as their global peers. The gap between how mothers and fathers work, care and earn after a baby is more pronounced in Australia than in comparable nations. (World Economic Forum 2020 Global Gender Gap Report)

  • Australia has the fourth most expensive ECEC fees in the OECD and participation rates among 3 and 4 year old children in ECEC lag global peers. (The Parenthood/Equity Economics 2021)

  • More than 20% of children in Australia arrive at school developmentally vulnerable. Children who attend quality ECEC for at least one year before school are half as likely to arrive at school developmentally vulnerable as their peers who don’t.

  • More than 90,000 Australian parents stayed out of the workforce in 2020 because the cost of childcare was too high. (Productivity Commission Report 2021)

  • Nearly 140,000 people in Australia wanted paid employment in February 2021 but didn’t look for it because they couldn’t find suitable child care. Over 90 per cent of them were women. If there was suitable child care available they’d be able to start work immediately. Another 64,700 people wanted to work, but didn’t look for it, because of family considerations or caring responsibilities. Nearly 75 per cent of them were women. (ABS Feb 2021, ABC)

  • Australia now ranks 50th out of 156 countries in relation to gender inequality. In 2006 Australia ranked 15th. Australia’s female workforce participation is ranked 70th out of 156 nations. (World Economic Forum 2021 Global Gender Gap Report)

  • A 2020 UNICEF report analysing child well-being ranked Australia 32nd among 41 OECD and EU countries and found we are “falling short in delivering consistently good health, education and social outcomes for children”.

  • The price Australia pays for not providing the requisite early support to children and families is estimated at $15 billion annually. (2019, The Front Project, Cost of Late Action)