Nearly 700,000 Australian families will miss out on government’s childcare subsidies, more ambitious reform needed
7 March 2022 – Thrive by Five warned the vast majority of Australian families who access government childcare subsidies will miss out on relief from rising early childhood education and care fees despite changes to childcare subsidies starting today.
Modelling by the Mitchell Institute at Victoria University found the change will only impact about one in four families who use childcare, leaving nearly700,000 families no better off.
About 60 per cent of families would pay less than $20 a day per child for childcare if reform of the early learning system was actioned as outlined in the Grattan Institute report. Cheaper childcare: A practical plan to boost female workforce participation, with no families worse off.
Thrive by Five Director Jay Weatherill, said “Every Australian child should have access to affordable and high-quality early learning and care, not just a few.
“While the start of additional childcare subsidies is a welcome step forward, too many families and children will still miss out.
“We have also already seen several early childhood education and care providers raise their fees this year, with the potential for more increases ahead.
“Surging early learning costs are a strong indicator that the nation’s early learning system needs urgent reform.
“Families recognise the importance of high-quality early learning for the development of children and supporting workplace participation of parents but the lack of affordability is biting.
“As of February 2021, there were about 140,000 Australians who wanted to work, but didn’t because they cannot access suitable or affordable childcare.
“Rising childcare costs not only hold back parents from entering into paid work or increasing work hours, it places strain on family budgets and wellbeing and can limit the opportunity for children to access learning in the critical early years.
“Every child, regardless of their postcode or family circumstances, should have access to at least three days of quality, affordable early learning and care, starting as soon as parents want it.
“The message to political leaders from all sides is we want affordable, flexible, high quality early learning. Reforming Australia’s outdated and expensive childcare and early learning system must be a top priority.
“Thrive by Five is calling for significant investment in universally accessible, high quality and affordable early learning in the upcoming Federal budget.”