ABC Brisbane with Rebecca Levingston
REBECCA LEVINGSTON: Scott Morrison is the Social Services Minister championing nannies. Minister, Good Afternoon.
MINISTER MORRISON: G’day Rebecca.
LEVINGSTON: What’s prompted a $250 dollar – $250 million dollar spend on nannies?
MINISTER MORRISON: The productivity commission undertook an extensive enquiry which we initiated when we came to government to look at the whole issue of early childhood education and childcare. It discovered there was a big gap particularly for shift workers, key workers, families with children with special needs and families in rural and regional areas where there wasn’t the same array of services and this was a gap that needed to be filled and that’s what we’ve sought to do with the announcement of this pilot programme, run for two years, be able to support around 10,000 children over that period of time and around 4,000 nannies to provide those services.
LEVINGSTON: So how will the trial actually work?
MINISTER MORRISON: Well it will be targeted to those, as you said in your introduction, who aren’t able to connect with mainstream services. This isn’t intended to replace mainstream childcare, long day care or family day care or other related formal services. It’s there for those who can’t access it, it could be shift work, policeman and women, it could be firies, ambos, even Customs officers who work shift work or others who do that.
LEVINGSTON: Ok, so but the money…
MINISTER MORRISON: So they’ll be the priority group.
LEVINGSTON: Ok, so but the money that the government’s spending does it go directly to the families, I’m thinking how does the $250 million dollar spend work?
MINISTER MORRISON: It goes to the service providers. A nanny would have to be employed by a service provider and then provided in the family and then the subsidy would then be paid to that service provider just like subsidies are currently provided to long day care centre operators and others who provide those sort of services. So, there’s no sort of cash payment which is then made to nannies. The nannies would have to be 18, they’d have to have a first aid qualification, they’d also have to have a working with children qualification. They may well have additional qualifications in early childhood learning, but that’s not mandatory, we’ll leave that up to families to decide whether they’re the services that they want to engage.
LEVINGSTON: So how much will a nanny cost? Let’s say that I’ve got a police officer listening now, or a nurse, or a family who has a child with a disability. How much would they be looking at to have a nanny in their family?
MINISTER MORRISON: Well, that’s up the service provider they engage. The way the subsidies work though is that we would just say a percentage of a benchmark price, for that nannies service, and how much of that percentage would be would be dependent on your family income. That’s currently how the childcare subsidies work, for the childcare benefit, the more income you earn the smaller percentage you get. So it will depend very much on the individual family.
LEVINGSTON: You said this could benefit 10,000 children, it will mean potentially jobs for something like 4,000 nannies. Where will they come from?
MINISTER MORRISON: Well they can come from any number of different areas; we are not applying the National Quality Framework standards. We did that because we also didn’t want to see a departure of those workers out of the formal day care centre industry. We wanted to ensure they could keep their workers. But it could be those training for those sorts of jobs currently. There are a lot of people who are in the education phase themselves of getting those qualifications. This would provide an opportunity for them, it’s a different type of service which is provided in those formal centres and in some cases obviously it means being there overnight.
LEVINGSTON: And will they be Australian nannies because I think a lot of people still have a perception of a nanny perhaps being like an au pair, perhaps being from an overseas another country?
MINISTER MORRISON: Well, to the extent to which people – services actually engage people who are on particular visas to be in these services, well that’s up to them, but I would think the overall majority of them would be Australian residents and this isn’t an au pairs programme this is a nanny programme which would be provided by reputable service providers and I know there will be other families that will engage au pairs who do everything from the ironing to the cooking the meals and that sort of thing that’s not what this is for. The government is not going to be subsidising domestic help. We are going to be supporting childcare, in home childcare, and to support key workers in particular and families with children with special needs or those in rural and regional areas who are currently not being able to access services because of the nature of their work or their situation.
LEVINGSTON: My guest is Social Services Minister Scott Morrison, love to hear from you this afternoon if you have a nanny story to share, maybe you are one, maybe you’ve had one, let me know 1300 222 612. Minister, just finally will this have an impact on the cost of regular childcare services, mainstream childcare services?
MINISTER MORRISON: No, I don’t think there will be any relation between the two; the actual individual subsidies paid in each case will actually be less then what is less than what is required for long day care and other forms of more formal care in the mainstream services. It will particularly benefit families that might have more than one child, you know several children, because the costs really do rack up when you are putting those into a formal day care environment. So no the two shouldn’t be linked at all.
LEVINGSTON: But this is, this is….
MINISTER MORRISON: It’s about filling a gap and extending a service.
LEVINGSTON: I beg your pardon Minister, sorry, this is part of a bigger childcare package that you’re announcing. I’m just thinking for people who do take their children to regular day care services, childcare services, do they have something to look forward to as well in terms of government subsidies?
MINISTER MORRISON: Yes they do. Yes, the government will be announcing our response to the Productivity Commission between now and the budget and the government will be investing more in this area and in a more targeted way, particularly for middle to lower income families. We want families to be able to stay in work and be in work so they can have the choice that they want for their families and the increased investment will be offset by the savings that we’ve put to the Parliament to invest more you have got to have the offsets and the savings to pay for it, we don’t want to load taxpayers up any more than they currently are, that’s why we’ve put those savings forward.
LEVINGSTON: Minister, appreciate your time thanks so much.
MINISTER MORRISON: Thank you for your time.