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Asian nannies one answer to childcare costs

<i>Illustration: Cathy Wilcox</i>

Illustration: Cathy Wilcox

The cost of childcare has been a political bugbear for more than a decade. But a submission to a crucial government inquiry into childcare has come up with a novel solution: low-cost Asian nannies.

The Indonesia Institute, a Perth-based think tank, says carers from countries such as Indonesia and the Philippines should be allowed to come to Australia and mind children for $200 a week to help ease pressure on family budgets.

Families would provide their Asian child carers with accommodation, clothing and medical insurance. The nannies would also be entitled to Sundays off and a return airfare home for two weeks each year.

A special agency would regulate the scheme and ensure foreign workers were not mistreated.

The institute acknowledges its plan might encounter "some entrenched protectionist opposition".

A pay rate of $200 a week would be double the amount a nanny would earn in Indonesia, the submission to the Productivity Commission's childcare inquiry says.

The Abbott government has asked the Productivity Commission to examine how childcare could be improved.

85 comments

  • Just looked at the voting results here. I CANNOT BELIEVE that a majority of people are effectively supporting this. Oh advance Australia where? This would be nothing more than the exploitation of immigrant workers - and an invitation to abuse and a form of slavery. It is already happening in the sex industry. And I wonder how many of the "nannies" so called would end up there?

    Commenter
    Glen
    Date and time
    March 29, 2014, 11:13AM
    • I agree with you, Glen. Although it's not the "majority of Australians" who think this is fair...it's the majority of SMH readers. Hmm. Anyway, this is an appalling proposal. But somehow I think it's you and I who are about to be called racist.

      Commenter
      Amalthea
      Location
      Bathurst
      Date and time
      March 29, 2014, 11:44AM
    • Problems:

      a) this would pose a huge problem for Australian childcare workers who do not deserve to be forced to compete at such an unfair disadvantage.

      b) we already have a high level of immigration so we have a consistent flow for workers who are willing to work harder for lesser pay but this formalisation of such is an invitation for all employers to underpay their staff of ethnic background with the ugly mantra of "you're still getting a tiny bit more than what you get -back home- so be grateful!" (wonder if they would realise that British workers also get paid less -back home-).

      c) why are we reverting back to an unfair, archaic class system that encourages servitude, i.e. the exploitation of what is perceived to be a lower class? I thought Australia prided itself on the concept of "the fair go"?

      d) "let's have these women leave their community and families to look after our kids!" Really? $200 is not enough to pay a person to be torn away from their community and placed into a hostile country that clearly views them as inferior humans.

      e) childcare is not supposed to be cheap! You are looking after children, i.e. society's future and therefore more precious resource!

      This assertion of importing Asian nannies is powered by 2 things: racism and greed.

      Commenter
      Jill
      Date and time
      March 29, 2014, 12:01PM
    • You do know that filipino nannies are commonplace in Singapore, HK and through the Middle East. It's hardly slavery when in reality there's very little difference to 457 visa holders.

      Commenter
      Trollol
      Date and time
      March 29, 2014, 12:11PM
    • I suspect this news released this week to serve as ballast to the Sir's and Dame's story. Now we have them back we are going to need servants to match the curtains and all that. Won't be surprised to hear that plans are afoot for the servants/slaves/nannies will be paid for by the taxpayer under some special provision in the new gold plated PPL scheme as something due Women Of Calibre... OK I'll be horrified but I won't be surprised ....

      Commenter
      juileep
      Location
      sydney
      Date and time
      March 29, 2014, 12:16PM
    • All good points - I agree. All linked to their ideology of breeding 'a better class of people'.
      This week, I've seen many LNP squaddies posting terms such as 'proper', 'high class', 'calibre' - in reference to the people they wish to support/endorse. Seems there IS a class war happening on the sly and it has been hastened by the LNP for their own interests.

      Commenter
      @juileep
      Date and time
      March 29, 2014, 12:41PM
    • As an expat that has had expat nannies looking after our children for some years, I can vouch for the impact that foreign nannies have not only on their lives but their families. To be given the opportunity to earn comparatively good money and have their children cared for, to them, would be a vastly better situation than that of their native country. Most of the income is sent back home to their families.
      Before you play the "racist" and "slave labour" card, i would suggest you see it from their perspective and how they will benefit rather than just espousing an ill informed opinion based on a ideology that has no relevance to their lives and how this opportunity would only be of benefit to them and their families.

      Commenter
      Peter
      Date and time
      March 29, 2014, 12:44PM
    • I voted no; but a majority are voting yes. Shorter work time with no cut in pay is the answer our rulers don't want to hear.

      Commenter
      B. Traven
      Date and time
      March 29, 2014, 12:51PM
    • Agreed Glen. People purely thinking about their own needs- not concerned at all about creating an underclass of Asian slaves.

      There's a reason the wages are cheaper in Indonesia- the living costs are also much cheaper. There's a thing called a minimum wage in Australia. It's there to protect all workers in Australia- no matter where they come from and it's there for a reason.

      I bet Gina would love this idea.

      Commenter
      GT
      Date and time
      March 29, 2014, 1:03PM
    • Peter- if foreign nannies are such a benefit to families, then there's no reason not to pay them their due award wage then, is there.

      Commenter
      GT
      Date and time
      March 29, 2014, 1:06PM

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