The Prime Minister’s childcare reform plans have both parents and workers in the industry worried about how they will cope.
Childcare prices are expected to increase by more than 5 per cent in the 2017 financial year and by almost 20 per cent in the next four years, according to Department of Education documentation.
“The increase in childcare costs now means parents including myself have to work more hours and spend more time away from our home and children just to be able to afford putting my child somewhere safe,” Rachel Alldis, the parent of eighteen-month-old Maxx, said.
This has come as a shock to some parents, who say the Government had promised affordable childcare in the future.
Parents in Melbourne will have to pay about $175 a day for childcare, which in many cases is almost double what they currently pay, to leave their children in the care of trusted childcare workers in order to be able to go out and work.
Ms Alldis said parents were having to ask themselves, if they can’t continue to afford childcare, how can work and provide for the family? “It’s a tough decision that can’t be run away from,” she said.
Even low income parents who receive a childcare subsidy are having to weigh up whether it is worth working anymore, just to pay for childcare.
“So you ether have to be with your child to look after them every day without going to work to be able to pay off bills and necessary living expenses, or just not see your child at all for hours because you’re working extra hours,” Ms Alldis said.
There are multiple ways that a family can claim childcare subsidy, but it is not easy for everyone. One type of childcare subsidy is based on both parents earning less than $40,000 – if you earn just a few thousand dollars more, you miss out.
Rocketing childcare prices are not only affecting parents, they are also impacting childcare staff such as Kaitlyn Siketa.
“Prices getting higher will push the families away due to it being so expensive. If the centre was able to prove to the parent that their child’s stay was worth the price and for example the food they were eating is well taken care off, then I could somehow understand,” she said.
But even with all that, many childcare workers also believe that the pricing does not need to get higher.
“If the prices were to continue to increase, families could in fact pull their children out from childcare “ Ms Siketa said.
If this happens, the result could be there is not enough children in centres for the amount of staff, so studying the course may not look as appealing.
Both parents and childcare workers are faced with the difficult situation and only time will tell how this matter will be resolved.