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Childcare sector booming according to new report


Australia’s childcare sector is booming according to a new report, although the figures have been disputed by the Australian Childcare Alliance.

A key finding the Child Care in Australia report commissioned by the Federal Government claims there are more than 1 million children in child care – a 30 per cent increase over the last five years.

The report also claims that fee increases have remained stable for nearly a decade meaning with big increases in fee assistance, families have been financially better off. The average childcare fee increase last year was 7.3 per cent across the sector, while average families with annual income of $75,000 spent 8.4 per cent of their disposable income on child care in 2012, compared to 13.0 per cent in 2004.

Early Childhood and Child Care Minister Kate Ellis said that the report proves how Labor had improved affordability of childcare for families and raised the quality standards for the child care sector. She also said that aside from having more families using child care, families are also using childcare on more days of the week for longer hours.

“Nearly half of all 3 to 5 year olds in Australia are now in childcare – up from 43.5 per cent six years ago,” she said.

However, Australian Childcare Alliance president Gwynn Bridge said the report was misleading because it double counted children who attended multiple services. “She’s stating that there are more children in childcare than ever but that could be one child doing after-school care, before-school care and vacation care,” Ms Bridge said.

“The overwhelming statements from parents in our surveys are that it’s becoming unaffordable for them to remain in the workforce.”

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