FEDERAL GOVERNMENT MUST DO MORE TO EASE THE SQUEEZE ON HOUSEHOLD BUDGETS FROM RISING COSTS OF EARLY LEARNING AND CARE
30 June 2021 – The Mitchell Institute report released today has confirmed what parents across Australia are experiencing acutely – early learning and childcare costs are unaffordable for hundreds of thousands of working families.
The report found childcare is currently unaffordable for 386,000 Australian families or 39 per cent of families who use the early learning and childcare system.
Mitchell Institute analysis also shows the childcare subsidy changes announced in the recent Federal Budget, and due to start in July 2022, will only shift the dial so far, leaving childcare still unaffordable for 336,000 (34 per cent) families who use the childcare system.
Thrive by Five CEO Jay Weatherill said the report confirmed Australian parents were struggling with high out-of-pocket early learning and childcare costs.
“Rising childcare costs are an incredible strain on family budgets and parents are facing impossible choices on what to sacrifice to make ends meet, including hard decisions not to have more children or delaying their family,” Mr Weatherill said.
“Many children are missing out because fees are too high, but children need early learning to help develop their brains, prepare them for school and live productive lives.
“According to the Productivity Commission, children who accessed some early learning and care were less likely to be developmentally vulnerable compared to those who didn’t (19.8 per cent vs 39.8 Per cent). Many of them never bridge that gap.
“Making early learning and childcare more affordable is one of the most effective ways of growing our economy, creating jobs, empowering women to participate more fully in the workplace and giving children the best start in life.
“A high-quality, universally accessible and affordable early learning system must be a top priority.”