Data from the ABS reveals that childcare costs rose 9.9 percent over the past two years, with early learning childcare advocates Thrive by Five now calling on the Federal Government to urgently prioritise Australia’s need for affordable, high-quality early learning and childcare.
Since March 2021, there’s been a 2.1 percent increase in out-of-pocket early learning and childcare expenses, Consumer Price Index (CPI) data revealed.
Jay Weatherill, CEO of Thrive by Five says it’s not possible for Australia to build back better, give children the best start in life and allow more parents back into the workforce without universal access to affordable, high-quality early learning and childcare.
“Surging costs are a strong indicator that the nation’s early learning system needs reform,” he says.
“Early childhood is a time of rapid change, particularly for the development of brain function and socialisation which can set up a child for lifelong success.”
“Every child, regardless of their postcode or family circumstances, should have access to at least three days of quality, affordable early learning and care, starting as soon as parents want it.”
He adds that rising childcare costs hold back parents from entering into paid work or increasing work hours, as well as placing strain on family budgets and wellbeing.
“Making high-quality early learning and childcare accessible to all Australian families is our best chance at growing the economy, recovering from the pandemic, and giving children the right start in life,” he said.
“Now is the time for all political parties to commit to universally accessible, high-quality early learning and education for all Australians.
Thrive by Five is one of the initiatives of The Minderoo Foundation, a modern philanthropic organisation established by Andrew and Nicola Forrest in 2001.