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  • Subsidised nannies for nurses, midwives and paramedics

    Author: Karen Keast

Shift-working nurses, midwives and paramedics can apply to access subsidised nannies for childcare at home, under a new Federal Government trial.

The $246 million two-year project, set to be funded in the upcoming Federal Budget, will extend subsidy support to families earning less than $250,000 a year who are shift workers, those living in rural and regional areas, and those who have children with special needs.

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The Home Based Carer Subsidy Program will also apply to parents studying or searching for employment, and will provide care for about 10,000 children as part of the first stage of the government’s childcare reforms.

The initiative, which will begin on January 1 next year and run until December 31, 2017, will subsidise nannies attached to approved services.

Nannies must be 18 years of age and have a current Working with Children Check coupled with first aid qualifications but will not be required to hold a minimum early childhood qualification.


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Social Services Minister Scott Morrison said the initiative will support families struggling to access affordable childcare services when working, studying or looking for employment.

“Key workers such as nurses, police officers, ambulance officers and firefighters, as well as other shift workers, are too often unable to access childcare and take advantage of government support because of the nature and hours of their work,” he said in a statement.

“The two-year pilot program will determine whether a more sustainable program can be affordably put in place for in-home care nanny services, including necessary integrity measures and quality standards.

“Trialling a range of family circumstances will help determine the best settings for delivering childcare in a child’s home under the childcare subsidy.”

Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) federal secretary Lee Thomas said the union had long been calling for subsidised childcare payments for nannies for shift-working nurses and midwives.

“According to a poll conducted by the ANMF, 92 per cent of Australia's nursing and midwifery workforce currently work shifts outside regular Monday-Friday day-shift hours each month, with 78 per cent of them reporting that they work outside of Monday-Friday day shift on a weekly basis,” she said.  

“For our members who predominately work these types of shifts at any hour of the day or night, on weekends and on public holidays, accessing childcare outside regular hours, is often a difficult task.

“That’s why this trial of 10,000 low-to-middle-income families will come as a relief to them and we thank the government for acknowledging the issues shift workers face in accessing mainstream childcare services.”

Ms Thomas said the ANMF would like to work with the government to ensure the trial meets the needs of interested nurses and midwives.

“The feedback from our members will be useful in assisting the government to gauge its effectiveness,” she said.

Families and service providers will be able to apply for the pilot later this year.


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Karen Keast

Karen Keast is a freelance health journalist who writes news and feature articles for HealthTimes.

Karen regularly writes for some of Australia’s leading health news websites and magazines.  In a media career spanning 20 years, Karen has worked as a senior journalist in newspapers and television. She has covered the grind of daily news and worked as a politics reporter at countless state and federal elections.

Since venturing into freelance writing five years ago, Karen has found her niche in writing about the health sector for editors, businesses and corporations.

Karen has interviewed the heads of peak health organisations in Australia and overseas, and written hundreds of news and feature articles covering the dedicated work of health professionals who tread the corridors of hospitals and health services, universities, aged care facilities and practices, day in and day out.

Follow Karen Keast on Twitter @stylemywords