January 2, 2016 12:53pm
AUSTRALIAN parents must shop around for childcare providers and carefully scrutinise what they’re being offered, Education Minister Simon Birmingham says.
New figures suggest daily childcare costs will soar past $200 well before proposed legislation surrounding fee changes takes effect in July 2017.
“I would encourage parents to scrutinise very carefully what they’re being charged and to quiz those service providers,” Mr Birmingham told reporters amid concern about the price hikes.
National Centre of Social and Economic Modelling analysis suggests fees at high-demand centres will reach $210 a day by the time the government’s new means-tested child care subsidies take effect in 18 months.
Opposition education spokeswoman Kate Ellis said one in four families would be worse off under the mooted changes, and no families would escape unscathed in the interim.
“The figures revealed today show that some families will be hit by fees of $200 as we see a 14 per cent increase in fees before the government’s proposed child care reforms will even come into effect in 2017,” Ms Ellis told reporters in Adelaide.
“Every single child care centre across Australia, every single family that is relying on child care, can expect their fees to soar as a result of the government’s inaction.” Mr Birmingham said the federal government’s child care changes would make the system more affordable by putting a cap on some services.
He said families must shop around in the interim to avoid exorbitant prices from “outlying” centres.
“We’re applying reforms that will keep a downward pressure on prices by having an hourly fee cap that is uniform across the nation, that is designed to try to keep child care prices down,” Mr Birmingham said.
“My plea to the Labor Party today is if they are genuinely concerned about the child care costs and availability in Australia, step out of the way, pass our savings measures and allow the child care reforms to pass and to come into law.
“Because that is the way through $3.2 billion in extra spending that we can make sure we give the support Australian families need for child care.”