The cost of childcare has been a political bugbear for more than a decade. But a submission to a crucial government inquiry into childcare has come up with a novel solution: low-cost Asian nannies.
The Indonesia Institute, a Perth-based think tank, 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.
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.
The institute acknowledges its plan might encounter "some entrenched protectionist opposition".
A pay rate of $200 a week would be double the amount a nanny would earn in Indonesia, the submission to the Productivity Commission's childcare inquiry says.
The Abbott government has asked the Productivity Commission to examine how childcare could be improved.