The Federal Government has promised its overhaul of the child care system will help keep costs down, amid predictions fees will rise by 14 per cent by July 2017.
The Department of Social Services expects the costs of long day care to increase 6.5 per cent this financial year, and 7.3 per cent by July 2017.
In an answer tendered to a Senate Estimates committee on notice, the DSS said it does not include potential “behavioural changes” when the Federal Government’s proposed child care overhaul comes into force.
That would mean fees for a handful of day care centres in Sydney could hit $200 a day, and $150 a day in parts of inner Melbourne.
But Education Minister Simon Birmingham said most other centres would be much cheaper.
“And if they are being charged in some instances, are clearly outliers and that’s why I would encourage parents to scrutinise very carefully what they’re being charged and to quiz those sorts of service providers,” he said.
“Overall though, we are going, in our reforms, to apply an hourly fee limit of $11.50.”
Mr Birmingham has promised a cap in terms of subsidised cost per hourly care, as well as streamlined subsidies for parents, as part of the changes.
Mr Birmingham said the Government’s child care overhaul, which comes into force in 18 months’ time, would put “downward pressure on prices”.
“I know that there are real cost pressures out there which is why we are applying a new rate of childcare subsidy that we hope to get through the Parliament this year,” he said.
But his Labor counterpart Kate Ellis said the changes would be detrimental, and the predicted increases would make child care too expensive for some families.
“We know that many families will simply not be able to afford the cost of child care,” she said.
She said the Government needed to take action to stop the increases as soon as possible.
“There will be absolutely nothing which is done to assist families until mid-2017, and even when the Government’s reforms come into effect, modelling shows one in four families will be further worse off,” she said.
Source: abc news