Childcare fees have hiked for families since Coalition came into power

Childcare fees up by 34% since 2013 & minister says families should ‘shop around’

Childcare fees have increased by 3 per cent in the last quarter and by more than 34 per cent since the Coalition came into power in 2013, according to new data released by the education department.

Federal education minster Dan Tehan says childcare is a private sector market and some providers are operating above the government’s cap, introduced in 2017.

“What I would say to Australian families is to make sure that you shop around and find a childcare provider who is providing value for money when it comes to early childhood education for your child,” Tehan told reporters on Sunday.

“I call on the sector to be doing everything they can to ensure that costs remain sustainable for Australian families.”

Tehan’s comments about families ‘shopping around’ have been criticised as ill-informed online. The reality for many Australian families is that there is very limited “choice” about finding suitable early education and care.

Tehan says the government has provided $10 billion in childcare subsidies.

The average hourly fee across all types of care (excluding in-home care) was $9.90 in the September 2019 quarter, reflecting an increase of 4.6 per cent over the past year. In the same quarter, 45.1 per cent of children aged 0-5 years used approved childcare.

The largest growth in childcare fees has occurred in regional areas, while fees tend to be highest in major cities, including Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Canberra.

Labor’s early childhood education spokesperson Amanda Rishworth said the federal government had broken its promise to families that the new system would bring fees down.

“They have absolutely no plan to control skyrocketing fees,” she said in statement.

Before the 2019 federal election, Labor committed to covering 100 per cent of child care fees up to the recommended cap, to provide free child care for families earning up to $69,000.

A review into the government’s Child Care Subsidy will be undertaken in 2020.

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