HOUSEHOLDS WITH YOUNG CHILDREN STRUGGLE WITH COST OF LIVING, CHILDCARE COSTS INCREASE PRESSURE: NEW NATIONAL POLL
The majority of Australian parents with children under six are struggling with living expenses and the high cost of early childhood education and care (ECEC) are adding to financial struggles, according to a new national poll.
The poll conducted for The Parenthood by Essential Research found:
- 62% of parents with children under the age of six say they are struggling financially;
- Only three in 10 parents who use centre-based early learning say the costs are easily manageable. Childcare costs are particularly concerning for those who report being under general financial pressure;
The vast majority of parents (85%) believe that the cost of living means families
don’t have a choice and both parents need to work. This rises to 90% of those
feeling financial pressure; and
Six in 10 parents say that they or their partner would work different
hours if childcare wasn’t so expensive.
The new Parenthood poll (click link here) has been provided to both the Productivity Commission and Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) as part of their national review of the early childhood education sector.
Parenthood interim CEO Jessica Rudd said the Australian ‘working family’ was at risk of sinking if parents with young children were not better supported through this cost of living crisis.
“The cost of living crisis is a crisis of choice for parents. This poll shows that families need two incomes to make ends meet, but often one parent can't go back to work unless childcare is accessible and affordable.
“Australian working families are treading water. Household budgets are under financial stress, from soaring housing costs to rising utilities bills and grocery prices. This research tells us that both parents want and need to work, so we must start viewing early childhood education and care not as a nice-to-have, but as an essential service. That means it needs to be available to and affordable for all.
“The increase to the Child Care Subsidy implemented mid-year has helped ease some of the financial burden, but as the recent ACCC report found, in the absence of holistic system reform and proper educator workforce measures, fees will keep rising.
“This catch-22 for families is crippling the economy. Australia needs a universal, affordable, quality ECEC system to help address living costs,” Ms Rudd said.