Family

The free creche supporting working parents

The Australian screen industry is leading the way with free childcare.

By Tracey Corbin-Matchett, Raising Films Australia

As I watched the red carpet arrivals for the recent Emmy Awards pop up through my Facebook feed, I can't help but think, damn those women look amazing, especially when loads of the stars are working parents.

For me, getting myself to work events, looking even remotely put together is a tough gig, as any working mum can understand.

But getting yourself to work events is even harder when kids aren't welcome and there's paparazzi and red carpet involved.

For those working in film and TV, events like these are important to your career, no matter what side of the camera you are on. It's there that deals are made, projects get green lit and important connections happen and if you're not there, you risk becoming old news or completely left out of the picture.

But in all of this, who's minding the baby?

I am often stuck finding a babysitter to mind my kids so I can attend an event that is important to my career. Before you say, "Why don't I just not go?" I am also mindful that my career pays my bills and puts food on the table, on top of fulfilling my love of for what I do.

Finding adequate childcare is a problem faced by working parents in all industries, of course. It has long has been, but there are changes being made, and the Australian screen industry is leading the way.

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 Tracey Corbin-Matchett with son, Zahn at the premiere of his film, *Chasing Comets.*
Tracey Corbin-Matchett with son, Zahn at the premiere of his film, Chasing Comets.

A strategy launched earlier this year, Raising Films Australia, recognised the distinct issues faced by working parents and carers in the screen industry, in terms of access to career opportunities and professional development being impacted by the nature of the industry, through ad hoc work, unpredictable income through freelancing, working on locations and that further, a key aspect of the industry was the networking undertaken at industry events, which are often held at night or interstate.

So, if you can't be at those events as you have young children to look after, you're not included in those vital conversations, further impacting your career opportunities. Meaning that the industry misses out on your talent.

On the back of this initiative, things are starting to change, for the better.

This week, a new way of supporting working parents to attend vital industry events was launched, with the Australian screen industry's lead conference Screen Forever announcing that it will provide a free creche at the event to be held in Melbourne from 20 - 22 November.

Through a partnership between the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC), Create NSW, Screen Producers Australia (SPA) and Women in Film and Television (WIFT) Australia, the free creche recognises the importance of access to the intelligence and opportunities that come with attending the annual conference, and in supporting a sustainable and diverse screen industry.

Fully funded by the SAFC and Create NSW, and available at no cost to participants from all states, the creche has space for up to 20 children.

It's a credit to the partner organisations that supporting parents to attend the conference has been included in the programming. Sometimes these events are a great way to escape without the kids, but if you're nursing a baby, or you don't have family to pick the kids up from day care in time, often even getting there is not an option for you.

This type of support through an on-site creche means that not only can you attend a vital industry event, you can bring your baby too, everyone's a winner.

Now it's time for all industries to come on board and offer this kind of support to working parents, wouldn't you say?