As children across Central Victoria return to early learning in 2021, Federal Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters has raised concerns about the rising costs of child care.
“As a parent with a child in care, I know how expensive fees can get and how difficult the system can be to navigate,” Chesters said.
“Childcare is a juggle for many local families who are continuing to be dudded by the Morrison Government’s soaring fees.
“For many families the cost of early childhood education is more expensive than primary school, particularly if there is more than one child enrolled in child care.
“Just like school, access to early learning should be universal. We know that these are some of the most important years for development,” Chesters said.
Australians pay some of the highest child care costs in the world and under the Liberal Government fees have increased by more than 35%.
Before COVID, fees across Bendigo had skyrocketed by 4.2% in 12 months.
In Heathcote, Castlemaine and Kyneton, fees have increased by 4.5%.
This means families are paying more out of pocket for early learning and care and fees are expected to continue to rise.
Local nurse, Lauren Place said parents should not have to choose between their careers and growing their families.
“Under the current childcare subsidy system, I’m out of pocket more than 40% of my after-tax wage just so I can go to work,” Place said.
“With the temporary changes to the cost of early childhood education in 2020, I was able to increase the shifts I could accept exactly when our hospital system needed me to - this was the difference in us being able to save a deposit to purchase a home for our family.
“It simply does not make sense that, in this day and age, parents - mothers, in particular - are being made to choose between their careers and growing their families due the cost of early childhood education, when it is something so easily changed.
“Taking another look at how early childhood education is supported must be a priority. It’s not a handout. It’s investing in our future,” Place said.
Parents need a real plan to tackle skyrocketing out of pocket child care costs - not the Liberals’ broken system that Scott Morrison continues to cling on to.
An Albanese Labor Government will introduce the Cheaper Child Care for Working Families plan to cut child care fees and put more money into the pockets of working families, straight away.
Under this plan, Labor will:
- Scrap the $10,560 child care subsidy cap which often sees women losing money from an extra day’s work;
- Lift the maximum child care subsidy rate to 90 per cent; and
- Increase child care subsidy rates and taper them for every family earning less than $530,000.
Under this plan, a Bendigo pharmacist and teacher with 1 child in care 2 days a week would save $2034.
While local mum of three, Eloise Seddon said her family would save $3174 per year with 2 children in care, 2 days a week.
Labor's plan will make child care more affordable for 97 per cent of families in the system, and remove financial barriers that disincentive second income earners, predominantly women, to work full time.
The Morrison Government do not have a plan to fix child care and support families get back to work.
“Women should be able to return to work to earn money, not just to be able to afford child care,” Chesters said.
To find out how much families will save under Labor’s plan, fill in the child care calculator https://www.childcarecalculator.com.au/
THURSDAY 14 JANUARY 2021