Families continue to struggle with rising childcare prices.
Families continue to struggle with rising childcare prices.

Huge jump in childcare fees again

PARENTS have been forced to fork out an extra $300 a year in childcare fees and face more planned increases this year.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham said the Government was aware that too many families continued to struggle with rising prices.

But projected growth in prices has already been reined in by more than 1 per cent since the Government's childcare package was passed in May.

Department of Education data shows there has been a 5 per cent average increase in childcare costs in a year, affecting the 890,000 Australian families using daycare, including 196,500 from Queensland.

The latest data shows the average cost of child care for the year rose to $6536 in 2016, which was up $300 from the previous year. This is based on the national average of 24.9 hours a week and 30 weeks a year at $8.75 an hour.

The average cost of child care is $6536 a year.
The average cost of child care is $6536 a year.

For a family with children in care for 48 weeks a year, the increase rises to $480.

But forecast growth in fees has reduced in the past year. Fees for long day care, used by about half of Australian families with children in care, are expected to increase 4.6-5.1 per cent in the next three years.

But this is already down by up to 1.4 per cent on earlier projections.

Five years ago prices were growing at 7 per cent or more each year and hit 14 per cent in 2009 under the Gillard government.

The Government's childcare package, which scrapped the $7500 rebate cap and offers scaled subsidies for families depending on income, does not come into effect until July 1 this year.

Department analysis also shows that the slowing of childcare fee increases means some families could save up to $430 a year on their childcare bills.

Mr Birmingham said too many families struggled with rising childcare costs, but the new package would benefit almost one million families.

"It's also expected the hourly rate cap we're introducing will give families a reference point that will further help to constrain fee rises," he said.

"Our new childcare package will leave more money in the pockets of hardworking Australian families."

But Opposition education spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek said costs continued to rise and 280,000 families were worse off under the new package.

"Why should families suffer higher childcare costs while Mr Turnbull spends $65 billion on tax cuts for millionaires and multinational companies? His priorities are all wrong," she said.



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