NEW DATA SHOWS WHY AFFORDABILITY MUST REMAIN CENTRAL IN CHILD CARE REFORM

The importance of putting out-of-pocket costs at the centre of any future child care package has been reinforced by new data showing that out-of-pocket child care costs have increased across all income groups, and that child care costs under the Abbott Government are higher than at any time since Labor was elected and increased the Child Care Rebate to 50 per cent.

Transcripts from Senate Estimates, published today, highlight the importance of having all the information on the table so that the discussion about the Government’s future child care package is informed and transparent: 

SENATOR LINES: If I look at the figure for $75,000, $95,000, $115,000, $135,000 and $150,000—the March 2013 table compared to the March 2014 table—isn't it telling me that out-of-pocket costs for all income groups have gone up?

DSS OFFICIAL: Yes.

This comes on the back of new modelling released by Australia’s largest early education provider, Goodstart Early Learning, which showed that the Productivity Commission’s proposed model would leave many families across the income spectrum worse off, with a lucky dip of how hard they will be hit depending on their geographic location. 

“With more than 1.1 million children attending approved child care and more than 775,000 families using child care, it is incredibly important to get reform right and affordability is a key issue in this,” Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Kate Ellis said today. 

“This latest data emphasises that the Government's child care package ultimately needs to bring down the cost for families, not just be an attractive number on the Government’s bottom line. 

“In our engagement with the Government on their response to the Productivity Commissions report, we will be working to make sure that parents out-of-pocket costs are decreased and the trend of rising costs to families under this Government shows how critical an issue this is.” 

The new modelling reinforces the importance of adequately assessing the impact of any reform on families and the sector.  

“Improvements to early childhood education and care need to be carefully considered with the best interests of children and families at the heart of any changes. Labor looks forward to continuing to engage with the Government on their child care package and addressing the issue of escalating out-of-pocket fees under their watch.” 

TABLE: Out-of-pocket costs for one child in long day care after Australian Government subsidies

 

Family Income

Out-of-pocket cost (% of family income)

March Quarter 2014

2010

$35,000

10.4

6.8

$55,000

9.9

7.1

$75,000

9.7

7.2

$95,000

9.5

7.2

$115,000

10.5

7.4

$135,000

11.1

7.3

 

Source - 

Child Care and Early Learning in Summary, March 2014

Report on Government Services, 2011

 

WEDNESDAY, 04 MARCH 2015