New data reveals childcare costs driving cost-of-living pressures on families
28 July 2021 – Calls for affordable early learning and childcare have been reignited today with Consumer Price Index (CPI) data showing a sharp rise in the annual inflation rate to 3.8 per cent caused largely by an end to the Federal Government’s free childcare policy.
Jay Weatherill, CEO of Thrive by Five, said that today’s data was yet another reminder of why making early learning and childcare affordable needs to be a Federal Government priority, especially for post-pandemic economic recovery.
“Young families are feeling the pinch to their household budgets with out-of-pocket early learning and childcare fees higher than they have been in years. They have risen 10 per cent in just the last two years and young families are bearing the brunt of it,” he said.
The Productivity Commission’s report earlier this year indicated a sharp annual rise of 21.7 per cent in the number of Australian parents and carers not working due to these high childcare and early learning costs. This was almost 100,000 parents kept out of the workforce.
“Research has shown that making early learning and childcare cheaper would boost GDP by $11 billion annually. It seems like an obvious solution for a country deep in the grips of an economic crisis,” Mr Weatherill said.
“And for a sector with such high costs, the pay for early years educators is still extremely low with turnover up to 30 per cent. They have proved themselves to be essential workers in times of national crisis and they deserve proper remuneration representative of their efforts.
“We need complete reform for the sake of children, families and educators. Every child deserves access to early learning to ensure they develop properly at such a crucial stage in their lives.
“We urge all states to make this a priority at National Cabinet. Australia needs high quality, universally accessible and affordable early learning and childcare.”