CPI DATA SHOWS GOVERNMENT CHILD CARE REFORMS HAVE FAILED TO KEEP CHILD CARE AFFORDABLE
27 January 2021
Families’ child care costs in Sydney and Brisbane are now the highest they have ever been, today’s CPI data reveals, higher than even before the Federal Government’s major child care reforms in 2018 promised to make child care more affordable.
Almost half of the total increase in the CPI in the last quarter came from increased child care costs, as the benefit of six week of free child care and a Government imposed freeze on child care fees ended in all states but Victoria.
Georgie Dent, Executive Director of The Parenthood, said virtually all the savings from the new system introduced in 2018 will be wiped out in other Australian cities and towns in the coming months.
“The CPI figures out today show parents across Australia are still caught in a trap of rising early childhood education and care fees, and government-provided subsidies that fail to keep up,” she said.
“Child care out of pocket costs are now 20% higher than they were when Scott Morrison unveiled his child care reforms back in May 2015 promising most families would be $30 a week better off.
“Australian parents already pay some of the highest fees in the world and we’re hearing reports that some services have just bumped fees by upwards of 5%.
“The 2017 HILDA (Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia) survey found that 49 per cent of people with children under 5 had difficulties with the cost of childcare, which was up from about one-third in 2002.
“When you consider rising out of pocket early learning and childcare costs against the backdrop of stagnant wage growth and the post-Covid19 economy, it’s not hard to imagine the incredible strain on household budgets.
“Rising childcare fees force too many working families into diabolical choices, including discouraging women from going back to work, taking their children out of the early learning environments that are so enriching or stopping people from having more children because of a lack of affordable care and support.
“We know many Australian women don't work more than three days a week because that is the point where the cost of care becomes prohibitive.
“This will only get worse in coming years as figures from the Education Department predict childcare fees will rise about 4 per year over the next four years, far outpacing CPI and wage growth of barely 1- 2 per cent.
“The current subsidy model for early education and care has failed to keep out of pocket costs manageable with too families struggling and children still missing out. In NSW, recent reports indicate enrolment in preschool has even dropped. Children and parents need urgent, major reform of the early learning system.
“Australia should invest now in universal access to high quality early childhood education and care. 2021 is the year leaders across the country should make this reform their top priority,” Ms Dent said.
MEDIA CONTACT: For interviews with Executive Director Georgie Dent call 0400 437 434.