An analysis of the Australian Government’s Jobs for Families Child Care Package: The utility of Bacchi’s WPR methodology to identify potential influences on parents’ childcare choices

Danica Beutler and Marianne Fenech

Issues of childcare affordability, availability and flexibility in Australia have long restricted choice for parents wanting to use formal child care. To address these issues, the Australian Government developed the Jobs for Families Child Care Package, which passed through the Australian Parliament in 2017. This paper reports findings from a study that employed Bacchi’s ‘What’s the Problem Represented to be’ (WPR) methodology to analyse the potential impact of the Package on parents’ childcare choices. Consistent with submissions from peak bodies and policy analysts, Bacchi’s WPR analysis uncovered potential lived and
subjectification effects, which are likely to diminish the choices of disadvantaged families.
Additionally, the analysis identified three discursive effects that complicate workforce participation and childcare choice. Utilising a WPR approach and disrupting the Australian Government’s positioning of child care as a means to support workforce participation can inform advocacy that aims to re-centre childcare policy onto the rights of the child.

Australasian Journal of Early Childhood—Volume 43 Number 1 March 2018.

Don’t forget, the Australasian Journal of Early Childhood is tax deductible for early childhood professionals.