Out of pocket early learning and care costs have soared by almost 15% since the 2019 Federal Election, the latest CPI figures confirm.
Coupled with the 5.1% increase in inflation, on account of sharp growth in the cost of housing and fuel, it highlights the extraordinary strain on the household budgets of families with young children.
Georgie Dent, Executive Director of The Parenthood, said these figures show government policies to make early learning and childcare more affordable have fallen drastically short.
“Since the last election, despite additional investments in the Childcare Subsidy, out of pocket costs for parents have jumped by almost 15%. Given Australian parents pay some of the highest fees in the world for early learning and care, this jump is alarming and entirely unsustainable,” Dent said.
“Over the last twelve months out of pocket childcare fees have increased by 4.2% which is higher than the ABS trimmed mean. It places huge financial pressure on families.”
“It is vital for children, parents and the economy that the unaffordability of early learning and care is recognised and addressed.”
For a family with an income of $120,000 using early learning and care five days a week at $115 a day, the increase in fees over the past 3 years represents an increase in out of pocket costs of $1292 in a year.
“The burden of unaffordable early learning and care forces too many working families into choices they don’t want to make, including discouraging women from going back to work and stopping young children from attending early learning programs that are crucial for their early development.”
“The cost of early learning and care is a key issue for parents at the upcoming Federal election. Parents want commitments from all parties and candidates to make early learning vastly more affordable and accessible.”
“Australia must urgently invest in universal access to high quality, affordable and accessible early learning and care,” Ms Dent said.
ABS CPI data available here: