Every year I pay the equivalent of half a house deposit in childcare.
The prospect of adding to my childcare bill is the best contraceptive method going around my house.
If my husband and I have another child, that’s it for me and work. We simply will not be able to afford for me to leave the house each day and have my children in an early childhood education centre.
I am not alone. There are thousands and thousands of families in exactly this position and many others who face even greater difficulties in balancing their budgets and caring for their children.
This is problematic on three levels. Firstly, time out of the workforce has a significant impact for the primary carer’s (usually the mother) in terms of future earnings and superannuation contributions.
Secondly, children miss out on the critical early childhood education opportunities found in childcare.
Thirdly, working parents are essential for Australia’s economic future. Research conducted by Ernst and Young shows that mothers working part time are the most productive participants in the work force. That is, they work harder and smarter. Working mothers are the best hires you can ask for.
The Courier Mail are reporting today that childcare fees are expected to rise by $10 a day per child next year.
The expected rise in childcare costs is being attributed to better staff to child ratios in centres. The smaller staff to child ratios is a measure of the National Quality Framework, and is considered key to continued better outcomes in childcare.
So I was pretty surprised to hear that the Federal Government announce that funds originally promised to families for childcare will instead be used to help fund a tax cut for small business.