Release type: Joint Media Release


Qld trials flexible child care for nurses' graveyard shifts


The Hon Kate Ellis MP
Minister for Employment Participation
Minister for Early Childhood and Child Care

Around 50 families of nurses and paramedics who perform shift work will benefit from more responsive and flexible child care in a trial to kick off in Queensland from July.

Early Childhood and Child Care Kate Ellis Minister Kate Ellis today joined Member for Moreton Graham Perrett on Brisbane’s southside to officially launch the Australian Government-funded trial which will test new flexible child care arrangements in Brisbane, Toowoomba and Townsville.

Ms Ellis said the Queensland nurses, midwives and paramedics flexibility trial would be run in partnership with the Queensland Nurses Union, United Voice (Queensland) and Family Day Care Australia.

“Both these initiatives are part of a $5.5 million package to inject more flexibility into the child care system so it’s more responsive to Australian families’ needs,” Ms Ellis said.

“This is exciting news for nurses and paramedics, many of whom face a day-to-day proposition balancing their child care needs with their round-the-clock roster.

“We’ve listened to the concerns of dedicated shift workers who contribute so much to our well-being and ensure our most important public services are running 24-7.”

Ms Ellis said Family Day Care already offered care outside traditional hours and was well placed to run the Queensland trial with the Government

“The trial recognises that while some form of ‘flexible’ care is provided, it is not offered in a coordinated way,” she said.

“Currently, flexible care for shift workers is not the norm and is only offered by those family day care educators who are willing to provide it and who are attached to Coordination Units which support it.

“This trial includes a number of elements which have been designed specifically to make it easier for nursing families to access more flexible care, as well as foster this form of care in more family day care schemes with the support of their educators.”

Mr Perrett said the flexible child care trial had been welcomed by local families.

“Flexible child care will make the work/family juggle a little bit easier for staff at the three major hospitals on the Southside,” he said.

“I’ve already heard from other shift workers in my electorate about getting access to flexible child care, so I’m keen to see if these arrangements are viable for a wider roll out.”

Mr Perrett said one of the trial sites was Wesley Mission, based at Yeronga, which would offer nursing families the following:

  • Educators who have been specifically selected for participation in trial on the basis of their capacity and willingness to provide ‘flexible care’;
  • A small team of educators (two-three) who will be responsible for working with the family to meet their care needs; and
  • A single point of call for families to change their care arrangements.