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Is this a moral solution?

Last week it was reported that a think tank based in Perth was putting a novel idea to the Productivity Commission on how to alleviate the child care problem, or rather lack of child care in Australia: Bring in low cost Asian nannies

Is this a new idea? Hardly. Families in wealthy CBD suburbs have been doing this for ages. Possibly not quite as "officially" or sanctioned by the Australian government, but certainly not with any huge difficulty.

The Indonesia Institute says carers from countries such as Indonesia and the Philippines should be allowed to come to Australia and mind children for $200 a week to help ease pressure on family budgets.

This would operate then much like an au pair situation. In return for work, families would provide their Asian child carers with accommodation, clothing and medical insurance. The nannies would also be entitled to Sundays off and a return airfare home for two weeks each year.

A special agency would regulate the scheme and ensure foreign workers were not mistreated.

But is this really a serious and viable solution? What happens to them when the families no longer need a nanny? Are they shipped back to whence they came? Will there be any account taken with regards to their own offspring?

Many of the Amas or nannies employed in HK, Singapore, KL and Dubai have their own children back in their home countries, who they never see and who are looked after their entire childhood by other family members. Is this something to be encouraged?

Surely there must be a solution that can help families afford to hire locally based nannies, babysitters and au pairs who are already in Australia and without current positions?

Is the cost of supporting foreign nationals actually less than the government would pay out on potential child care benefit or rebate to families hiring an Australian resident? Surely not. And more importantly is it moral?

Why is it though that families consistently look for nannies from outside of their own borders?! It's often nothing to do with cost, but more to do with the attitude of local nannies. For some reason foreign nannies seem to bring with them a much more positive outlook and less jobs worthiness than home grown ones!

Brits for example favour other European nannies (The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have just employed a Spanish nanny) and also Antipodean ones – favouring their can-do attitude and easy-going personalities. They're also partial to Asian nannies too, particularly if they're Expat Brits living in commercial hubs such as Singapore, HK, KL and Dubai.

The Americans love English nannies and of course Mexican and Puerto Rican imports…(ahem).

The Australians love Kiwis, Fijians and European travellers on year working visas, and if their house is big enough, Au Pairs are warmly welcomed.

The French probably think it's all a load of nonsense anyway, because their child care system and support for working mums is so brilliant they have no need for nannies. Ditto the Scandinavians.

The Spanish and Italians have hundreds of family members ready to take up the post for nothing, so they have no need for nannies either!

There's still time to let us know what you think about the employment of nannies in Australia and whether it would help you if nannies were given formal child care status and/or tax deductibility.

Click here to take the Annual Child Care And Workforce Participation Survey. Tell us your views and be in the running to win an iPad Mini, get 15% discount on Homewares from and natural cosmetics from

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