Carol Nader reports in the Age that
HUNDREDS of children are spending 60 hours or more a week in child care, a Federal Government report has revealed.
The article then critiques the Federal Government’s policy of encouraging as many mothers as possible into the workforce. What are the underlying economic forces encouraging such workforce participation? We know that home owners are paying the highest amount ever recorded for land and housing, at 6.6 times the average wage, versus the long term average of half this.
Children are left in such long day care because families are struggling to pay for land. This flows through into prices for milk ($4 for $2 litres at the milk bar!!!), petrol and other key ingredients. As revealed at the recent ABC People’s Summit at the Victorian Parliament, the competition for limited child care places is also hindered by child care operators refusing to open more centres when the cost of land is so high.
Another reason is that workers are commuting longer and longer distances as ‘speculative sprawl’ forces them to chase affordable housing in areas bereft of public infrastructure such as child care centres and train stations.
The problems mount up as vacant blocks of land, many standing idle for a decade, are now finally developed as we sit on the precipice of another property downturn. Will the flippers make their profit? Is that the primary interest of the majority, or would they rather learn why this trend endangers so much of what we hold dear about the ‘concept’ of a community? Does this trend of selling land at the top of the market enhance affordability? Do you know what percentage land accounts for in each auction price?
Yet another question must be asked. Why do families struggle so much, even with two wage earners? Land price appreciation is the fundamental flaw in today’s monopoly capitalism model. Over at our sister website Prosper, you can read this interesting report on similar issues faced in Thailand.
With the adoption of the policies proposed on these pages, we will have lower land prices and thus less need for over-time, greater urban density and handing us more head space for the most important job we all have, bringing up our kids.