The Parenthood calls for monitoring child care fees as parents face biggest spike in out-of-pocket costs in a decade.
The Parenthood is urging Federal, state and territory governments to closely monitor and regulate fees charged by early childhood education and care services after a new report revealed that parents have shouldered the highest jump in out-of-pocket costs in a decade.
The Child Care Subsidy data report for the September 2022 quarter shows the average hourly fee charged by centre-based day cares had risen by 6.8 per cent in the period, higher than inflation (6.2%), and representing the biggest jump since 2012.
Data shows the uptick in average early learning and care fees is visible across all states and territories, with the highest hourly fees being typically concentrated in metropolitan areas such as Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Canberra.
Georgie Dent, CEO of The Parenthood, which represents 80,000 parents and carers nationally, said this shows a worrying trend, with early education and care being increasingly unaffordable for far too many families.
"Australian families pay some of the most expensive out-of-pocket fees in the world for early learning and care and are being pushed to the brink with the worst-of-all-time cost of living pressures.
“The ACCC will hand down its report next month on cost drivers for early childhood education and care over the last five years and we look forward to seeing what that says.
“In the meantime, we are urging the Federal Government to step up monitoring of fee increases ahead of the Child Care Subsidy changes coming into effect on 1 July 2023 to ensure that benefits from that increased investment flow through to families and children, rather than profit margins.”
The Parenthood is calling for an overhaul of the Starting Blocks website so that it accurately reflects the most up-to-date information for families and educators, including the current fees charged by services.
"Starting Blocks is the one-stop source for parents, early educators and everyone involved in Australia's early childhood education and care sector to access timely, relevant information about early education and care services in the country.
"Unfortunately, current fee information for many childcare services is outdated on the website. The Federal government must ensure the website contains current and accurate information to guide parents and early childhood providers."