Trial to provide 24-hour child care for nurses and paramedics

Thursday 21st March, 2013

Queensland Nurses' Union
secretary Beth Mohle

Around-the-clock child care will be available to selected Queensland nurses and paramedics at three sites across the state as part of a Federal Government trial of flexible care for shift-workers.

Under the initiative, the Queensland Nurses’ Union and United Voice will work with Family Day Care Australia to pair nurses and paramedics with teams of family day care educators for overnight and weekend care, with the capacity to also cater for last minute shift changes.

The 12-month trial, which begins in July, is part of a package of new measures to provide more flexible and accessible child care for about 500 families at more than 50 sites across the country, and includes day care for police shift-workers, extended hours long day care and more out of school hours care.

QNU secretary Beth Mohle said nurses and paramedics wanting to take part in the trial will need to live close to the three trial sites at Townsville, Toowoomba and metropolitan Brisbane.

“We’re pretty excited about it,” she said.

“It’s something that I’ve been talking about for as long as I’ve worked at the union.

“For shift-workers who are at a parenting age it’s absolutely critical that we have got this so they remain attached to the workforce.”

Ms Mohle said details of the trial are still being worked out and it is yet unclear how many nurses and paramedics will be offered child care positions and how much the child care will cost.

She said expressions of interest will be advertised in coming weeks.

“We haven’t got the details as yet. We have a lot of work to do before July.”

Early Childhood and Child Care Minister Kate Ellis said the $11 million package of new, flexible measures will better meet the needs of modern families.

“In recent decades we have seen a significant growth in women’s workforce participation and this has created extra demand for child care,” she said.

“Over the last 10 years alone, the number of women engaged in employment has increased by almost 25 per cent.

“We recognise that every family is different, and we want to give families more choice when it comes to child care so they can make the decision that works for their family.”