Bid for $10 a day childcare, 52 weeks parental leave

Eleanor Campbell

Parents could pay as little as $10 per day for childcare and receive up to 52 weeks of paid parental leave under a new draft law that will seek to make childcare free for low-income families. Early childhood advocates will launch a bill for consultation into parliament today alongside independent MP Zoe Daniel. Under the proposal, three days per week of early learning would be guaranteed for all children aged five and under, capped at $10 per day, and free for low-income families.

Ms Daniel said the new policy could be “transformative” to lift rates of women’s workforce participation and reduce cost-of-living pressures.

“It’s the bold, visionary reform that we so seldom see in Australia and in that sense, it’s an enormous opportunity. The exciting and transformative benefits far outweigh the costs,” she said.

According to data from the Productivity Commission, out-of-pocket childcare costs have risen substantially in every state and territory. Victorians currently pay the highest daycare bill, with the average cost of 50 hours of centre-based care at $626 a week. The government increased its childcare subsidy for families earning under $530,000 last July, however, according to a report from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission last year, fees rose by nearly double the rate of wages and inflation between 2018 to 2022.

Childcare advocate group Thrive by Five said too many Australian children were not able to attend childcare and preschool because their parents cannot afford it. “Many families say the cost of early learning is akin to that of a second mortgage. Others are turned away from their local childcare centre or preschool because the waitlist is astronomically long,” director Jay Weatherill said.

“We would never stand for that happening with primary or secondary education – early years education should be no different.”

Bid for $10 a day childcare, 52 weeks parental leave

 

This article appeared in the Herald Sun.

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