The peak industry body for early childhood education in NSW has called for an inquiry into the increasing cost of childcare in the state.
The Australian Childcare Alliance (ACA) NSW wants a review into the systematic, structural issues like supply, red tape, regulation and planning that its say burdens parents in NSW more than other states in Australia.
There are reports this week that at least one Sydney-based centre is charging $185 a day, with the ACA telling the Daily Telegraph it knows of at least one centre charging $200 a child.
Chiang Lim, CEO of ACA NSW, said in a statement the myriad of issues burdening child care providers in NSW and making childcare less affordable needs the urgent attention of an Upper House Parliamentary Inquiry.
“As politicians head to elections in NSW in March and across the nation in May, we can no longer allow all sides of the political aisle to ignore the impact of the early childhood sector on NSW families’ cost of living pressures,” Lim said.
The ACA says that government rebates designed to help parents are not keeping up with rising costs of childcare. The current subsidy is capped at $10,190 per child, but given it’s tested according to family income, many families now miss out on a large portion of the rebate or may no longer be eligible at all.
The proposed inquiry would investigate major issues such as why there is an over-requirement for the number of degree qualified full-time teachers per child in NSW compared to other states and why there are long waiting lists in some areas, yet chronic oversupply problems in other areas.
In late 2018, the Australian Senate Select Committee on Red Tape and the Centre for Independent Studies independently published reports, concluding that childcare will continue to be unaffordable unless there is a comprehensive rethink.
“Families with young children aged 0-5 years old in New South Wales generally do not feel that our political leaders are adequately solving their cost of living issues. Australian voters are going to put all politicians on notice that families with young children can’t be taken for granted any longer,” Lim said.
Based in NSW and want to share your experience navigating childcare costs, including how it’s affected your ability to return to work? Get in touch.