DCA’s response to shelving of an expanded Paid Parental Leave scheme in favour of childcare reforms

Media releases

Diversity Council Australia welcomes the Prime Minister’s announcement that the Government would shelve the expanded Paid Parental Leave scheme in favour of reforms focusing on improving access to and affordability of childcare.

Lisa Annese, DCA’s CEO, said one of the biggest factors affecting the participation of female employees in organisations is childcare.

“In a survey of our employer member organisations in 2014, nearly 95% of employers said access to and availability of affordable childcare presented difficulties for their employees. There is no doubt that this is a major disincentive to women participating more fully in the workforce.”

Paid Parental Leave (PPL) is important but childcare is a bigger issue for employers, according to Lisa.

“The existing government funded PPL scheme provides a very important safety net for new parents. However, as suggested by the Productivity Commission and in line with feedback from our members, we support the Government’s plan to direct funds allocated for the expanded PPL scheme towards improving accessibility and affordability of childcare as this is likely to have a greater positive impact on the workforce participation of women,” said Lisa.

Access to flexible working and careers is also critical to women’s workforce participation, added Lisa.

“DCA encourages the Government to ensure that an emphasis on workplace flexibility is promoted and supported as a critical part of maintaining progress on workplace gender equity and supporting parents – especially those with younger children – to remain in paid work. Clearly, more needs to be done to support the cultural shift in Australian business necessary to mainstream flexibility to the benefit of Australian parents,” said Lisa.