Childcare fees hit hip pocket

By Jessica Micallef

Hourly fees for childcare in the Macedon Ranges are above the national average, new data shows.

Families in the Macedon Ranges were paying $10.12 per hour on average for centre-based day care in September last year, the federal government’s Department of Education, Skills and Employment data revealed.

The national average hourly fee for centre-based day care in September 2019 was $9.90.

The data also revealed childcare fees in the Macedon Ranges rose by 5.2 per cent between September 2018 and September 2019.

In Sunbury, families were paying on average $9.60 per hour for centre-based day care in September
last year, 30 cents below the national average.

However, there was a 5.6 per cent increase in hourly fees in Sunbury childcare centres between September 2018 and September 2019.

McEwen MP Rob Mitchell said families were paying “significantly more out-of-pocket” for childcare.

“When families are already under financial strain with wages not growing while the expenses do, the last thing they need is to be stretched yet again to cover vital childcare needs,” he said.

“Families in McEwen are being crippled under soaring childcare fees.

“The government must act urgently to ensure high quality education is affordable and accessible for every child in our community.”

Education Minister Dan Tehan said out-of-pocket costs for families were 4.2 per cent lower than they were before the introduction of the Child Care Subsidy in July 2018.

Mr Tehan said eligible families received up to 85 per cent off their childcare fees through the subsidy.

“Our government’s Child Care Subsidy is designed to assist parents with the cost of childcare while they’re working, training, studying or volunteering,” he said.

“Under the Child Care Subsidy, all families are expected to make a co-contribution to the cost of their childcare fees based on their income.