The Nationals Senator for Victoria Bridget McKenzie said the Productivity Commission needs to undertake an urgent review of child care following a year of double digit fee increases hitting families.
New research has revealed Victorian parents are now paying on average $74.95 per day per child for child care, up 13.8 per cent in the last year.
“It is clear that when many parents do the sums, after tax and child care costs, there isn’t much financial incentive to return to the workforce. That’s why affordable and accessible child care is not just a family budgeting issue, it’s a nationwide productivity issue,” Senator McKenzie said.
“We need a Productivity Commission Review into child care because accessible, affordable child care is fundamental to families and fundamental to Australia.
“The Childcare and Workforces Participation Survey found 47 per cent of parents are now paying more than $300 a week for childcare, while more than 56 per cent of parents ranked accessing childcare as ‘difficult, to extremely difficult and frustrating’.
“Child care centres and parents are saying the Gillard Government’s new rules for child care centres are driving up fees. As part of the changes, the Government is demanding staff be better trained and perform more duties but won’t accept these carers might want to be better paid as a result.”
Senator McKenzie said that in addition to these fee increases, child care is becoming less affordable with the government cutting the Child Care Rebate from $8,179 to $7,500 and halting the indexation of the rebate.
“Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd promised to end the ‘double drop off’ by building 260 child care and early childhood education centres and instead abandoned the plan after only delivering 38.
Senator McKenzie said families with working parents were doing it tough because of Labor’s policies.
“Families are paying higher child care fees because of Labor’s child care policies, paying more for private health insurance because of changes to the private health insurance rebate and will be paying more on the necessities of life because of Labor’s carbon tax.”