October 1st, 2023




1 October 2023 – Minderoo Foundation’s Thrive by Five campaign has welcomed the release of the ACCC’s second interim report into child care costs, which recommends further reform to make early childhood education and care more affordable and easier to navigate.

“This report finds Australia has some of the highest out-of-pocket costs for early childhood education and care,” said Minderoo’s Griffin Longley.

“The current pricing and subsidy system is very complicated and difficult for families to understand, creating barriers that prevent many Australian children from attending early childhood education and care and gaining the benefits that come with high quality, accessible childcare.

“The ACCC has called for changes to the Activity Test which research by Impact Economics has found is a barrier to tens of thousands of parents, particularly women, across the country participating in the workforce.

“The Activity Test adds to cost of living pressures and restricts the opportunity for children to have high-quality early childhood education experiences, which research shows supports brain development, especially for our most disadvantaged children.

“The report also found that early childhood education and care is not equally accessible in different communities across Australia, with fewer services being available in less advantaged and remote areas of the country.

“This must be addressed, and efforts must be taken to improve early learning access in rural and remote Australia.

“The report also highlights that early childhood education and care is less affordable in Australia than most OECD countries.

“The current system continues to remain unaffordable for far too many Australian families and makes Australia an outlier on the global stage.

“It is clear that much more needs to be done to make early learning and care truly accessible and affordable for all families and children.

“We welcome the draft recommendations in the interim report and strongly encourage the Federal Government to adopt them.”

The report recommends government take action to:

  • make childcare more affordable,
  • create better mechanisms to cap prices,
  • remove or change the Activity Test,
  • improve the attraction and retention of workers,
  • take a more active role in ensuring the provision of services in childcare deserts, by examining new funding and delivery models, and
  • invest directly in Aboriginal Community Controlled service delivery.

“A high quality, universally accessible, affordable early learning system staffed by a qualified and appropriately valued workforce will deliver significant benefits for our nation.

“It would drive workforce participation, particularly for women, boost productivity and GDP, boost our nation’s education performance and give children the best start in life.

“We urge the government to adopt the draft recommendations in the ACCC’s interim report,” Mr Longley said.