New CPI data shows working families squeezed by 9.9% rise in early learning and childcare costs over two years
30 November 2021 – Thrive by Five is calling on the Federal Government to urgently prioritise Australia’s need for affordable, high-quality early learning and childcare, as data from the ABS shows a 9.9% rise in costs over the past two years.
The COVID pandemic did little to dampen surging costs, with Consumer Price Index (CPI) data revealing a 2.1% increase in out-of-pocket early learning and childcare expenses since March 2021 alone.
CEO of Minderoo Foundation’s Thrive by Five initiative Jay Weatherill said it was not possible for Australia to build back better, give children the best start in life and allow more parents back into the workforce without universal access to affordable, high-quality early learning and childcare.
“Surging costs are a strong indicator that the nation’s early learning system needs reform,” he said.
“Early childhood is a time of rapid change, particularly for the development of brain function and socialisation which can set up a child for lifelong success.
“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.
“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.
“Making high-quality early learning and childcare accessible to all Australian families is our best chance at growing the economy, recovering from the pandemic, and giving children the right start in life.
“Now is the time for all political parties to commit to universally accessible, high-quality early learning and education for all Australians,” Mr Weatherill said.