Notes of the Child Care Forum held on 15 August 2014

The forum to discuss the Productivity Commission Review of Childcare and Early Learning was co-hosted by the University of Sydney Business School Women & Work Research Group, NFAW and Women on Boards. It was attended by 70 people, representing a broad cross section of people from the academic sector, for-profit and not-for-profit childcare providers, government advisors, union representatives and members from the corporate Women on Boards network. The purpose of the forum was to:

  • develop informed responses to the PC Draft Review Report, and
  • canvass mid-to-long term options for the overall system which can be promoted to current and future Governments as well as the sector.

Click here for a full copy of the notes: 2014-09-17 Notes of Chlldcare Forum 15 Aug 2014_FINAL (1)

An evening with Diane Bell

Professor Emerita

Science Matters: Where are the young women?

Tuesday 11 November 2014  6pm -9pm

National Press Club: National Circuit, Barton ACT


Women remain under-represented as research scientists. Why? Does it matter? For whom? Anthropologist Diane Bell invites us into a series of imagined conversations between our scientist foremothers and their contemporary sisters as they reflect on their practice, past, present, and future.

Diane Bell is Professor Emerita of Anthropology at The George Washington University, DC, USA, and Writer in Residence at Flinders University SA.  After 17 years in senior academic positions in the USA, she returned to Australia in 2005, continued her work with the Ngarrindjeri of the Murray River, Lakes and Coorong, ran for the Federal seat of Mayo (SA) in 2008, and advocated for return of water to Murray-Darling Basin. An award winner author, Diane has written with passion and courage of matters concerning Aboriginal society, the law, religion, higher education, and the environment.

Cost:  $80 including dinner and drinks (vegetarian  available)


Enquiries: Kate Bosser at 1300  733221 or

RVSP by Friday 7 November 2014

Parking at National Press Club available for early reservations

 Download the invitation here - Canberra function 11 Nov 2014


Government must focus on out-of-school-hours child care to get women back into the workforce

To improve women’s workforce participation more effectively, the Commonwealth Government must enhance the availability and accessibility to families, of before and after-school care for school-aged children, says the National Foundation for Australian Women (NFAW), a leading independent women’s advocacy group.

“The debate over childcare reform has been dominated by an emphasis on care arrangements for pre-schoolers.  While this is an important focus, it has unfortunately also led to a corresponding neglect in policy, understanding and services in the equally important school-aged child care sector”, said Ms Marie Coleman, chair, NFAW Social Policy Committee.

“There continues to be a substantial gap in the workforce participation of mothers compared with fathers of school-aged children.  To illustrate, the participation rate of mothers with children aged 6 to 14 years was 78 percent.  But for fathers of children in the same age band, it was as high as 92 per cent.  This suggests that accessible school-aged child care has an important role to play in closing that gap.

“The shortage of before and after school care programs is now at crisis point in many densely populated parts of the country and particularly in Sydney.  This must be treated as an urgent issue for policy-makers and also for the Productivity Commission which largely overlooked the matter in its interim report on childcare – a gap we hope will be addressed when the Commission delivers its final report on 31 October 2014,” Ms Coleman said.

Ms Coleman said that the findings of a 2012 NATSEM study supported the case for greater availability and affordability of Outside School Hours (OSH) care for school-aged children.

The NATSEM study found that only a limited number of school-aged children are in formal care and that the use of formal care is strongly correlated with parental wealth.  Specifically:

  • Just over 10 per cent of school-aged children are placed in formal OSH care when their parents are at work
  • Children living in low-income families are much less likely to be using formal OSH care than those in high income families – only 1 per cent in the bottom income quintile, compared with over 20 per cent in the top income quintile.

“These findings show there’s clearly room to improve the accessibility of OSH care.  We believe the Commonwealth government should improve funding for the sector and encourage State and Territory governments to co-operate in making school facilities available as OSH care sites.

“Commonwealth funding should be tied to appropriate standards for OSH care programs, but at the same time, the sector should not be over-burdened with ‘red tape’.  After all, the needs of school-aged children in generally short-term care outside of class time, are quite different from those of infants and toddlers in long day care.  It goes without saying that carers and educators in OSH care programs should be vetted and appropriate qualified, but it may not be necessary for all to have education qualifications or for centre reporting requirements to fall under the stringent National Quality Control Framework,” Ms Coleman said.

“Successful OSH Care programs are those that run fun, safe and engaging programs for kids from facilities located at the school itself.  Making OSH care more available, affordable and convenient will have a very positive impact in getting women with school-aged kids back into the workforce”.


For further information contact Marie Coleman on 0414 483 067 or Viv Hardy at CallidusPR on 0411 208 951 or 02 9283 4113.

Download a copy of the Release here - NFAW Release – OSH Care – September 2014-1

More attention needed for before and after-school care:


Improving before and after-school care and holiday programs could be the most efficient and effective way of helping more women re-enter the workforce, the National Foundation for Australian Women says. 

With current policy debates firmly focused on paid parental leave and care for small children, the Foundation for Australian Women is calling on the federal government to pay closer attention to care for children once they are at school.

“The concentration of parental complaints and of governmental policy on care for the under school age child has led to a serious deficiency in both service provision and policy understanding of the sector,” it says in its final submission to the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into childcare.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the workforce participation rate for mothers whose youngest child is between six and 14 years is 78 per cent. This compares to 92 per cent for fathers of school-aged children.

The Foundation for Australian Women said research indicates that only a very limited number of school-aged children are in formal care.

A 2012 National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling study found that about ten per cent of school-aged children used what is called ‘outside school hours care’ and that they were more likely to come from affluent areas. It also found that many households with school-aged children were having difficulty accessing childcare.

In its submission, the Foundation for Australian Women said that parents were also reporting particular problems during school holidays. “Parents report sub-teen children [are] unwilling to attend programs designed for five and six year-olds and that activities which are of interest are not eligible for the Child Care Benefit or Child Care Rebate.”

The Productivity Commission’s draft report, released in July, reported that it too, had heard parents were having problems accessing outside school hours care, noting that schools’ six-hour days and 12 weeks of holidays do “not facilitate parents participating in paid work”.

The commission recommended that state and territory governments direct schools to take responsibility for organising an outside hours service for their students “where demand is sufficiently large for a service to be viable”.

The Foundation for Australian Women said the idea had “merit” but “will require the cooperation of state education departments, which may be a barrier to implementation”.  “The commission’s report is unhappily not comprehensive in its treatment of this area … and we note that most commentary and response to the [draft] report has ignored the area,” it said.

The Productivity Commission will provide its final report to the federal government by October 31.

Judith Ireland, National political reporter – September 9, 2014



Review of Childcare and Early Childhood

The NFAW submission to the Productivity Commission Review of Childcare and Early Childhood argues for joint consideration of Paid Parental Leave and child care policies, and emphasises the importance of care for the school age child as likely to offer the greater gains in maternal workforce attachment – read more at:

Productivity Cssion – Final Sub Early Childhood care and education Sept 2014

Productivity Commission Final Sub early childcare and education – tax deduction child care policy chart for MC

An evening with The Hon. Quentin Bryce AD CVO

You are invited to an evening with The Hon. Quentin Bryce AD CVO and patron of
The National Foundation for Australian Women

Tuesday 16 September 2014



Rio Tinto Headquarters 123 Albert Street

Brisbane, CBD

Tickets $25

Buy your tickets now at:

A copy of the invitation can be downloaded from here - BrisbaneNFAWEventSeptember2014

Whispers and Weaving: Miwi wisdom’

a one act play written by Diane Bell and performed by Ngarrindjeri weavers premiered at the TarraWarra Biennale in Healesville Victoria on 16 August 2014.

The project grew from a request from Indigenous artist, Djon Mundine, co-curator of the 2014 TarraWarra Biennial to Diane Bell that she write an essay on women’s knowledge, how it is masked and hidden, for the catalogue that accompanies the Biennial.  Rather than write yet another essay, Diane wrote the play, which the curator then suggested be performed as part of the Biennial.  Thanks to everyone who donated money to help this project - Here is the link to the videos of the play performance and Q&A that Change Media has created from their recording at TarraWarra on Saturday. Enjoy!

Online Resource – Know Your Value

eS4W launched a new online resource available to assist women to ‘know their value’ when negotiating pay and employment conditions and entering into contracts.

Please visit the site at

Click here for a copy of the Media Release –  eS4WChecklistMediaRelease20140825

Winter Tales – Dr Dianne Firth – Sunday 31 August

Winter Tales in aid of the Australian Women’s Archives Project (

Dr Dianne Firth
Landscape architect and art quilter

Layers by design: landscapes and quilts

Sunday 31 August

Dr Dianne Firth has long had two (sometimes linked) threads to the needle of her career. On one hand, she is a landscape architect and Adjunct Associate Professor in the Faculty of Arts and Design at the University of Canberra. ‘Behind the Landscape of Lake Burley Griffin: landscape, water, politics and the national capital’ was the title of her PhD dissertation and her research continues with a focus on the theory and practice of landscape architecture and its management, particularly as it applies to Canberra. Dianne is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Architects, Deputy Chairperson of the ACT Heritage Council, a member of the ACT Place Names Committee and a member of the Land Development Agency’s Design Review Panel. On the other hand, Dianne is an art quilter of considerable renown who has exhibited her work widely in Australia, the US and elsewhere. Her love of landscape has often inspired her choice of subject and the way she chooses and treats the fabrics making up her quilts.

2pm-4pm Fourth Floor Conference Room, National Library

Entry $15, includes afternoon tea

Bookings online at


Coalition for Working Women (CWW)

NFAW is a member of the Coalition for Working Women (CWW) formed in early 2014 to address issues impacting the capacity of women to participate equally in the Australian economy. Its particular focus is ensuring that the Government does not scale back the gender reporting requirements under the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012.

The WGE Act was introduced to strengthen the capacity of the Government to collect and report meaningful gendered workforce statistics to improve workplace equity and female participation in the workforce, in particular in management and leadership roles. The macro level workforce indicators currently generated by the Australian Bureau of Statistics are not sufficient as they show trends not specifics, have little relevance to individual employers and do not drive change – which is clear from the lack of real progress to date.

The CWW has made a submission to the Department of Employment’s formal consultation on workplace gender equality reporting requirements. As the consultation appears to be seeking responses primarily from employers and employees the CWW believes it is important to have represented the views of women’s and industry organisations on a policy that has long-term implications for the Australian economy.

What can you do?

The CWW comprises the following organisations:

  • Australian Council of Trade Unions
  • Australian Local Government Women’s Association
  • BPW (Business and Professional Women) Australia
  • Financial Services Institute of Australasia
  • Local Government Managers Australia
  • National Council of Women of Australia
  • National Foundation for Australian Women
  • Women on Boards
  • Women’s Electoral Lobby
  • The Work and Family Policy Roundtable (UniSA)
  • YWCA Australia

View CWW Submission to WGEA Consultation July 2014.V3 here.