Special babysitters on the rise

THIS mother and daughter are typical of many people in The Hills.

Kate Fairley (pictured left) of Castle Hill and Marcia Eagleston of Baulkham Hills are both teachers — school education was the top response for industry of employment according to the latest census data.

Both travel to work by car, something they share in common with 63.8 per cent of The Hills population.

Ms Fairley, 34, is also pregnant with her first child and her mother will babysit when the child is born in January.

Ms Eagleston will join about 200,000 grandparents who provide 12.7 hours of unpaid, informal care for children in NSW each week, according to research by the Council of the Ageing NSW.

The research shows the highest number of elderly babysitters as living in Sydney's northern suburbs and The Hills.

"At our school [Dural Public School] we have people who are working two or three (days) and baby-minding on the others," Ms Eagleston said.

"We're used to kids — especially if you've been a teacher.

"Most mums have to go back to work because houses are expensive in The Hills."

Population experts within the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) say the role of unpaid childcare in The Hills Shire is determined by many different factors.

For example areas with high levels of unpaid childcare may have a dominance of single-income families with one significant earner, or there could be a lack of provision of paid childcare in the area.

"I've heard it's quite difficult to get spots in daycare so having her [Mum] available two days will be a big help," said Ms Fairley, who is a year 5 teacher at Epping North Public School.

The ABS adds progressively to the snapshot of Australia.

The latest census data was released this month.

It explains the nation's labour force, including industries and occupation, as well as method of travel to work, education, state and territory migration and information about the mining industry.

CENSUS RESULTS

New data from the 2011 census revealed:

■Labour force: 60.9 per cent of the population reported being in the labour force in the week before the 2011 census; down from 69.6per cent in 2006;

■Industry of employment: 509 people, or 5.1 per cent of The Hills population — the highest number — worked in school education; down from 8.6 per cent in 2006;

■Occupation: 28.2 per cent, or 2839 people, were professionals — the highest number — compared to 26.2 per cent in 2006;

■Method of travel to work: 63.8 per cent, or 6412 people, travelled to work by car as driver; down from 64.9 per cent in 2006; and 

■Education: 1163 or 18.7 per cent, attended university or a tertiary institution, compared to 14.2 and 14.3 per cent of the NSW and national population, respectively.

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