Monday, June 4, 2012
Ross Vasta, Federal Member for Bonner says the Productivity Commission needs to undertake an urgent review of child care following a year of double digit fee increases hitting families.
New research released on the weekend has revealed that Queensland parents are now paying on average $67.76 per day per child for child care.
“According to this research, child care costs in Queensland are up 10.3 per cent in the last year – and when you add on changes to private health insurance and the coming carbon tax, local families are under increasing financial pressure”, said Mr Vasta.
“It is clear that when many parents do the sums, after tax and child care costs, there isn’t much financial incentive to return to the workforce. That’s why affordable and accessible child care is not just a family budgeting issue, it’s a nationwide productivity issue.
“According to the ABS, more than 110,000 Australian parents, including many in Bonner say they cannot access employment as they cannot find suitable and/or affordable child care.
“We need a Productivity Commission Review into child care because accessible, affordable child care is fundamental to families and fundamental to Australia.
Mr Vasta said responsibility for child care fee increases lay squarely at the feet of the government which has broken promises and burdened the child care sector with additional costs.
“Child care centres and parents are saying that the Gillard Government’s new rules for child care centres are driving up fees. As part of the changes, the Government is demanding staff be better trained and perform more duties but won’t accept these carers might want to be better paid as a result.”
Mr Vasta said that in addition to these fee increases, child care is becoming less affordable with the government cutting the Child Care Rebate from $8,179 to $7,500 and halting the indexation of the rebate.
“Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd promised to end the ‘double drop off’ by building 260 child care and early childhood education centres and instead abandoned the plan after only delivering 38.
Mr Vasta said families with working parents were doing it tough because of Labor’s policies.
“Families are paying higher child care fees because of Labor’s child care policies, paying more for private health insurance because of changes to the private health insurance rebate and will be paying more because on the necessities of life because of Labor’s carbon tax.”