The Australian: Care by the hour, 'doesn't add up'

The Australian: Care by the hour, 'doesn't add up'

Centre director and United Voice member Eleni Maree Wilson spoke with Gina Rushton from The Australian about the federal government's "preposterous" plans to bill by the hour and abolish flat daily fees.

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 “How will parents afford this?” Ms Wilson, who runs Bear Child Care Centres in Sydney’s southeast, said. “(The government is) not going to increase how much they subsidise the hourly rate for parents in line with its proportional impact on the industry.”

The “true value” of this increase to families would be between 30 per cent and 50 per cent more per hour, said Ms Wilson, whose children, aged between three and 13, have all attended daycare.

“I am already seeing parents pulling back on days because they can’t afford it. This is hugely detrimental to the industry and for mums being able to work.”

Education Minister Simon Birmingham sees “no risk of closure” for childcare centres as a result of the policy change. “I see no risk of price rises because it is up to the childcare providers to assess how their model can be supported,” he said in question time.

“We should see greater affordability for families because we are investing more than $3 billion in improving childcare subsidies and support for families.”

He said the reforms would put “downward pressure on prices”.

But Ms Wilson said hourly rates combined with higher staff-to-child ratios, to be ­enforced on January 1 across NSW, South Australia, Queensland and Victoria, would be “catastrophic for some centres”.

Online article in full is available here.