MAJORITY OF AUSTRALIANS SUPPORT MAKING CHILDCARE MORE AFFORDABLE: NEW NATIONAL POLL
4 April 2023 – A new Essential Report national poll released today reveals that a majority of Australians (66%) support the Federal Government making childcare more affordable as a way of dealing with rising costs of living .
The poll also highlighted that more than 54% of Australians found themselves in serious financial distress and struggling to manage their day-to-day expenses, with more than 71% of people polled stating the Government could help address the current financial challenges.
Thrive by Five Director Jay Weatherill said the polling released today confirmed findings from other polling data and what he is hearing in the community, that the cost of early learning is a burden on many families with young children and that they wanted relief from rising fees.
“Childcare affordability and accessibility are key issues for Australian families with young children, including in regional, rural and remote areas,” Mr Weatherill said.
“The rising costs of early learning are exacerbating financial pressures for too many families with young children and impacting their wellbeing.”
Starting 1 July 2023, the rates of child care subsidy will increase to 90 per cent for families on a combined income of $80,000 or less, while the higher subsidy of up to 95 per cent for families with second and subsequent children aged five or under in care will be retained .
“This measure will bring much-needed financial relief for families struggling with rising costs of childcare, however, more would need to be done to truly tackle the issue and provide families with the support they need,” Mr Weatherill said.
“This starts by abolishing the Activity Test requirements, which prevent far too many families from accessing care, and often restrict parents from re-joining the workforce, further compounding the financial burdens they face.
“More must also be done to ensure that early learning is made more accessible for all families, but especially Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and families living in Australia’s regions.”
Thrive by Five is calling for key early learning reforms in the upcoming Federal Budget including:
1) Abolishing the Activity Test requirements for all families
2) Reinstate funding for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led & operated early learning centres
3) Introduce free three-year preschool across all states and territories
4) Fund an immediate pay rise for all early learning educators
5) Invest in expanding early learning and care services in regional and remote Australia.
“Investments and measures to make early learning and care more affordable and accessible won’t just help families tackle the rising costs of living, they will also act as an investment in the futures of Australia’s children,” Mr Weatherill said.
“The upcoming Federal Budget in May presents the Federal Government with an opportunity to provide crucial support and take the steps necessary to address this crisis, and it must utilise this opportunity to implement meaningful early learning reforms.”