Around 10 months ago the nanny industry received word of a game changing government incentive – The Nanny Pilot Programme. Finally, subsidised nannies for hard working Australian families who’s work schedules prevented them from seeking regular childcare. Unfortunately numerous hurdles have hindered the programme in it’s initial stages and set it up to potentially fail in the future.
What’s going wrong?
The first hurdle was the lack of families who applied. Every time I mentioned I was a nanny I would end up in a discussion about the programme and was surprised to find that many families were unaware of this new opportunity. Trust me, the industry tried to get word out. I shouted the news all through social media including Lollaby, mummy groups, nanny networks and even buy-swap-sell groups. The ANA also campaigned on social media, among the nanny community and mainstream media for families to apply. It would of been nice to see more exposure to the programme from the Government as unfortunately, our voices could only reach so far. There was still a major shortage of applications and the programme spots were dropped from 10,000 to 3,000. I was frustrated but still optimistic.
Service providers were selected and began to roll out the programme in the new year. I have previously expressed concerns over the funding allocation for service providers. Between meeting compliance and maintaining legal employment standards the costs were high and would only fall back onto Australian families. Pairing this alongside the flexibility required in a nanny’s roster, service providers have their work cut out for them. It doesn’t help that the media is only reporting on the failures of the program rather then highlighting the need for solutions. This article was released yesterday around the cost of the program but is biased to a very small margin of families taking part. What the article fails to recognise is the value and impact the programme would have on families with 2+ children. With $5.95 per child a larger family would see a huge difference in their nanny budget. I know a nurse in Dalby (shift work and rural) who has just had her fourth child. That would take her nanny from $30/ hour to $6.20 an hour and that is the ideal impact we want to see for families.
I’m frustrated. Every day I witness the beautiful influence a good nanny can have on a family and while it is not for everyone, for some families it’s the only solution. I think the incentive to subsidise nannies is a step in the right direction and I applaud the Government for rolling it out but the solution needs work.
What can we do as an industry?
I have been so excited for my industry since the announcement but I can’t help but feel like this huge opportunity to make an impact is slipping through our fingertips. We as a community need to express our constructive feedback and bring suggestions to the table for solutions. No one knows the industry more then nannies and agencies and so we need to play a role in moving towards a viable solution that works for everyone. I for one have a date with the computer tonight where I plan to do my own research and hopefully bring some solutions to the table.
Australian families need this programme so I hope to see some changes made soon so that it’s not set up to fail.