How can Australia be the best place to be a parent?

Leadership

BHP, ING, Salesforce and Stella Insurance have come together with not-for-profit organisation, The Parenthood, to form an alliance that will support Australia as the best place in the world to be a parent.
Prominent Australian companies ING, BHP and Stella Insurance have joined with NFP advocacy organisation, The Parenthood, in a bid to make Australia the best place in the world to be a parent | Source: Getty Images
Key Takeaways
  • From 1 July, more than a million families will experience a reduction in out-of-pocket costs for early childhood education and care, when the $4.5 billion changes to the Child Care Subsidy come into effect.
  • The Commonwealth Government will invest an additional $21.2 million for the Inclusion Support Program, supporting children with special needs.
  • By 2026, every family of a new baby can receive six months of paid parental leave, which can be shared between both parents. Single parents will be eligible for the full 26 weeks of paid leave.

Could Australia become the best place on the planet to be a parent? It’s an ambitious goal – especially given the impressive track record of countries such as Sweden and Germany – however parenting advocate and CEO of NFP advocacy The Parenthood, Georgie Dent, says we’re on the right track.

The Parenthood has partnered with BHP, ING, Salesforce and Stella Insurance to form The Parenthood Alliance – a group determined to work together to make Australia the top place to parent. Dent says the new program builds on the long-term support provided to organisations by Foundation partners including the United Workers Union and the Minderoo Foundation.

Georgie Dent, pictured to the right of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, has been instrumental in negotiating a better deal for working parents.

“All of our Alliance partners have in place fantastic parental policies and family-friendly workplaces. Their support of The Parenthood will enable us to enhance our advocacy on behalf of parents and early childhood educators across Australia,” she says. “Every organisation in the country stands to benefit from policies that support parents, caregivers and children.”

Dent says with the upcoming changes to the Childcare Subsidy coming into effect on July 1 and the Productivity Commission’s interim report due by the end of the year, the voice of parents and educators is “even more important as we continue to advocate for universal access to high-quality early childhood education & care delivered by a professionally paid and qualified workforce”.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 22: Business Executive, Activist & Author Wendy McCarthy AO speaks during the Forbes Women: The Power of Now talk at the Forbes Australia Women’s Summit at ICC Sydney on March 22, 2023 in Sydney, Australia | Source: Brendon Thorne/Getty Images for Forbes Australia

In the past, Australia has had one of the most expensive and inaccessible childcare systems in the western world. Groups such as The Parenthood highlight the inequities of a flawed childcare system and the impact it has on working families, particularly women.

Wendy McCarthy AO, who recently became Chair of The Parenthood, says having affordable, readily available childcare in Australia is crucial for business. “The real question in Australia is not whether we can afford to have quality early education in Australia, but whether we can afford not to.”

For financial services company ING Australia, it makes good business sense to back parenting and childcare initiatives, CEO Melanie Evans says.

“Working parents make a significant contribution to society and the economy. At ING we have experienced first-hand the benefits of building a more welcoming and inclusive workplace for parents and carers,” she says.  “We need to constantly remind ourselves of the potential impact of removing barriers, providing choice and making life easier for Australian parents. It will be significant and long-lasting.”

Mining giant BHP says quality childcare is especially important in attracting and retaining quality staff in the remote communities it operates in.

“Today, more than a third of our employees are female and we aim to achieve gender balance in the years to come. We’re proud to join the Parenthood Alliance as a founding member to advocate for parent-friendly policies that support more skilled, diverse and inclusive workforces capable of delivering higher productivity and new opportunities,” Chief People Officer Jad Vodopija said.

The Parenthood is Australia’s leading parent advocacy group with a reach of more than 80,000 parents from across Australia.


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