Inside Story

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Childcare: where we came from and where we’re going

6 March 2009

Peter Clarke talks to Deborah Brennan about child care policy and the longer term impact of the fall of ABC Learning


If any area of social policy deserves the label, “never-ending-story,” it’s childcare in Australia. Once the province of community-based providers, from the late eighties childcare gradually became broadly privatised under both Labor and Coalition governments. Recurring questions of standards and improved childcare quality were largely pushed to the background. Using tax-funded subsidies and contemporary corporate practices, ABC Learning and other companies took off, flew high and crashed. Despite soothing rhetoric from the Rudd government, the fall-out threatens to hamper more progressive policies and on-the-ground quality childcare for quite a while. As the global financial crisis tightens its grip, childcare and family policy researcher, Professor Deborah Brennan, discusses the story so far, and the likely next moves, with Peter Clarke.

This discussion is based on Deborah’s article for Inside Story, Reassembling the Childcare Business.

Podcast theme created by Ivan Clarke, Pang Productions.

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The sun rises over scorched eucalyptus forest after bushfire swept past Yackandandah in the Victoria Alps on 10 February 2009. Torsten Blackwood/AFP Photo

The sun rises over scorched eucalyptus forest after bushfire swept past Yackandandah in the Victoria Alps on 10 February 2009. Torsten Blackwood/AFP Photo