Australia invests $1.7 billion in Childcare to boost female workforce
The Australian federal government recently pledged to boost female workforce participation with a $1.7 billion investment in childcare. They say the changes will make childcare more affordable for around a quarter of a million families, meaning women can return to work earlier.
The budget expansion is a welcomed change for working families, increasing the subsidy up to 95% for families with more than one child aged five or younger. It also will remove the $10,560 cap on the Child Care Subsidy.
However, many experts argue that it doesn’t go far enough for women.
Samantha Page, CEO of Early Childhood Australia says although she welcomes any additional investment, she has several ‘hesitations.’
“The changes won’t be rolled out for over a year – that’s a long time to wait,” she said. She also raised concerns that the new rules may make the childcare subsidy program even more complicated.
Is the Morrison government falling flat on their promise of a female-friendly budget?
Although the budget expansion is a welcome change for working families, the question of whether it will make the workplace more equitable for women is still up for debate.
The Morrison government says the budget expansion seeks to remove disincentives for women returning to the workforce. Minister for Women’s Economic Security Jane Hume says the changes will help further close pay and participation gaps.
“These measures will help remove the barriers for parents, particularly mothers, to return to the workforce.”Minister for Education and Youth, Alan Tudge
After months of protests sparked by several allegations of sexual harassment in the federal parliament, these changes feel relatively underwhelming.
Although the budget changes are a great step for working mothers, it may be too little, too late.
Women have been calling for an expansion of the Childcare subsidy package for years – yet the Morrison government has only chosen to roll out additional funding in the wake of huge protests across the country.
“We are still waiting for permanent funding for pre-school programs. And early childcare workers are still not being paid professional wages,” says Page.
More affordable childcare for low-income families
The Morrison government says the changes deliberately target low and middle-income earners. Around half the families set to benefit have a household income under $130,000.
The intention is to remove the burden of childcare costs, which is often a prohibitive barrier for parents, particularly mothers.
The level of child care subsidy is also tapered so that those families that earn the least receive the most. These subsidies apply at the same rate per child, regardless of how many children per family are in childcare.
This may help tackle gendered wealth inequalities too because the cost of childcare often disproportionately falls on women, says Page.
“While childcare should be a shared cost, the cost of childcare is often weighed up against the wage of the parent with a lower income. Which is more often than not the mother.”Samatha Page, CEO of Early ChildHood Australia
However, Page says it still doesn’t go far enough for children and women at risk – particularly those in rural and complex environments.
“We are still waiting on equal access to education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders,” she says.
“We should be careful to frame the package as an investment in children and early education as well as women.”
What do Aussie Mums think?
Jessica is a Melbourne mother of two daughters. She owns her own hairdressing business and her husband is an electrician. She says that although everyone complains about high childcare fees, many parents “don’t have a choice”.
This sentiment was echoed by another Melbourne mum, Laura, who had her first daughter during the 2020 lock-downs across Victoria. She says that cheaper childcare fees mean that she’ll be able to send her daughter earlier.
At the moment, Laura works two days a week while her daughter stays with her grandparents. However, she says that without the support of her parents and parents-in-law, returning to work would’ve been much more difficult.
This idea was echoed by Page, who says we need to empower families to make the choice best fit for them.
“Women should have the choice to work, but that isn’t the end of the story. We still need to invest in more generous paid parental leave too.”
Tokyo’s economic games get underway | ticker VIEWS
The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games are officially underway. But in light of the ongoing pandemic, are they really worth it?
We already know that global sporting events can successfully take place in the midst of a pandemic. Take this year’s Formula One season for example, which has moved around the world with relative ease.
Similarly, 15,000 Britons recently attended the Men’s 2021 Wimbledon Final, and up to 60,000 attended the Euro 2020 final at Wembley Stadium.
In each of these instances, authorities have backed the economic argument—giving fans some much-needed sports action.
Japan has put strict coronavirus measures in place to reduce exposure to Covid-19. This comes despite the nation recording over 850,000 cases, and a devastating 15,000 deaths.
However, Japan is a strong vaccination nation. Around 23 percent of residents are fully vaccinated.
The International Olympics Committee (IOC) says the Games will have “well above” 80 percent of Olympic and Paralympic village residents vaccinated. In addition, between 70 and 80 percent of the media will be vaccinated.
Spectators are banned from this year’s Olympics. All athletes and delegates must be tested before departure and on arrival.
Do people even want the Game to go ahead?
There has been strong opposition to the Olympics taking place. In fact, a local newspaper suggests 80 percent of Japanese people want the Games postponed or cancelled entirely.
Similarly, athletes have also expressed concerns over the Games. Tennis’ World Number 2, Naomi Osaka believes there should be a wider discussion about whether the Games proceed.
“If it’s putting people at risk, and if it’s making people very uncomfortable, then it definitely should be a discussion.”Naomi osaka
But these aren’t the first Olympics to experience controversy. In fact, there seems to be controversy surrounding most Olympics before they even begin.
Kirsten Holmes from Curtin University says the Tokyo Olympics are no different.
“In previous Games like Athens or Rio, there was a lot of negative press about whether the athlete’s village will be ready on time and the displacement of local people.
“Yet when the events themselves were held, they were very successful. They painted the host city in a positive light on the global stage.”
How much will the Tokyo Games cost?
The already-delayed Tokyo Games are expected to exceed USD $26 billion.
The IOC has a strict agreement with Japanese organisers. In fact, the IOC are the only body that are able to cancel the Games. If Tokyo cancels, they have to foot the bill.
The IOC expects to make 70 percent of its cut from broadcast rights, and an additional 18 percent from sponsorship opportunities.
But remember, the Olympics are funded by taxpayers. So, it might be worth giving the locals a thought—especially because international tourism is off the cards.
Health vs. economics
In light of the ongoing pandemic, Tokyo is currently under strict state of emergency conditions. This means there will be no bars, restaurants, or karaoke venues operating if they serve alcohol.
Tokyo residents are expected stay at home and watch the games on the couch.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who is the Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has also chimed in.
“The mark of success is making sure that any cases are identified, isolated, traced and cared for as quickly as possible and onward transmission is interrupted,” he says.Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
But he also also says “zero cases” may not be a true indicator of success, especially given Tokyo’s increasing Covid-19 numbers.
The Olympic cluster had already grown to over 80 on Wednesday this week, with even more athletes testing positive and unable to travel.
If teammates are listed ‘close contacts’, they can continue training under strict protocols.
But are these rules and protocols designed to limit the spread of the virus? Or are they measures to ensure the Games can proceed? I’m not sure if they are mutually exclusive, and neither does the WHO Director-General.
“The pandemic is a test and the world is failing.”Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
Mr Adhanom Ghebreyesu predicts more than 100,000 COVID-19 deaths before the Olympic flame goes out on 8 August.
With such strong opposition and rising case numbers, nations have a simple choice: straighten up the health response, or cash in.
Tokyo 2020 might be one of the most successful Olympics of the modern era. As organisers weigh up the costs and hope the rewards outweigh the risk.
We will just have to wait and see. Nevertheless, I suspect the Games might be a welcome relief for locked down communities, and the global sporting community.
China launches world’s fastest train | ticker VIEWS
China reveals the world’s fastest ground vehicle in the world, travelling speeds of 600kph
Travelling innovation is speeding up and China is at the forefront with the Maglev bullet train making its debut in Chinas, Qingdao.
The Maglev Bullet train
The Maglev bullet can reach a maximum speed of 600 kph. In comparison, a plane flies at around 800 kph. The China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation developed the world’s fastest train.
Maglev represents “magnetic levitation”, referring to its floating appearance above the tracks. The Maglev simply glides above the tracks using its electromagnetic forces.
Speed isn’t the train’s only stand-out feature, it also emits low levels of noise, pollution and requires less upkeep.
A win for China
High-speed rail is at the top of China’s priority list. The aim of the train is to create transport between major areas within hours.
The aim is to connect cities with reduced travel times and expenses. China is the world’s most populous country and this will fill a significant demand in the travel sector.
China has one Maglev line in commercial use. It connects Shanghai’s Pudong Airport with the city, in about seven minutes.
However, before these trains can be rolled out for widespread use and travel, more Maglev tracks will need to be installed.
China’s newest train is expected to be ready for widespread commercial use within the next decade.
Others on the market
Advances in train technology have taken off in recent years. Japan has a bullet train that can reach speeds of 400kph.
In the United States, a train track near Orlando International Airport is underway for a train that will reach speeds of up to 200 kph.
The Greek Freak triumphs all | ticker VIEWS
In a world of NBA Super teams, one man won against all odds.
Ever since LeBron James took his talents to South Beach in 2010, N.B.A. super teams have become the new norm. A super team refers to the best players in the league teaming up to secure a championship.
All that changed in recent days with the Milwaukee Bucks winning the championship. Giannis Antetokounmpo put together one of the greatest performances in NBA finals history, to secure a 4-2 victory over the Phoenix Suns.
Antetokounmpo also ranks as the first NBA Finals MVP to have also won the league’s Most Improved Player Award.
Giannis score 50 points and 14 rebounds in game 6.
He called out other players for winning the “easy way” in recent times.
“It’s easy to go somewhere and win a championship with somebody else … this is the hard way to do and we did it.”ANTETOKOUNPMO SAID AFTER THE WIN.
James Harden, Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, Kyrie Irving all left their respective teams to chase glory. Giannis stayed.
The comments may have not necessarily been a dig at his opponents, but it sure came off that way.
The two-time M.V.P. could’ve signed with a team that already had another superstar, in place to give himself the best chance to win a championship.
Instead, he stuck around in a small market and prevailed to win the Finals M.V.P. and lead the Bucks to their first championship in 50 years.
Antetokounmpo was the 15th pick in the 2013 NBA out of Greece, where he played at Filathlitikos.
Him and his brothers are of Nigerian decent, with a strong basketball background.
The Greek superstar was true to his word and now has the highest form of glory to show for it.
The NBA could be entering a new era, with the new Finals MVP and the centre of it.
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