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One third of parents say they will quit their job if childcare costs increase: 1800-strong Survey by Childcare Alliance Australia.



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Media release Thursday August 12 2010 - embargoed until Midnight Wednesday

Media Enquiries:

National, ACT & QLD Gwynn Bridge 0418 764 779 VIC - Lucian Roncon 0419 004 800

NSW -Vicki Skoulogenis 0418641900 WA - Roslyn Thompson 0407 652 177

Or Jannette Cotterell. Managing Director of Executive Counsel Australia on 0419 204 059 or 0261983279. SA—Barbara Langford 0417 874 391

Childcare Alliance Australia One third of parents say they will quit their job if childcare costs increase: 1800-strong Survey by Childcare Alliance Australia More than one third of all parents with children in long day childcare say, in the largest survey of its kind, that they will be forced to quit their job and another third will have to delay having more children if the cost of childcare in Australia is forced up any further.

An online survey of 1847 parents, conducted by the Childcare Alliance Australia, has found that the situation is worsened for those families who already find care very expensive and are currently experiencing financial stress. Among this cohort: more than half (51%) say one parent will quit their job if costs of childcare increased and one in two families say they will withdraw their child/children altogether from their current long day childcare centre.

- “It is unfair for low income families to increase the cost of childcare. I am a single mother and I can only just afford the fees now.” - Mother of two, Sydney. NSW

The 2010 “What Parents Want” survey, conducted by the by the peak body representing more than 70% of long care providers and their staff who care for more than 400,000 children, shows Australian families will change their vote for the party that offers early financial relief to struggling parents.

If the cost per child increases by $13-$22 a day, as a result of the Federal Government’s National Quality Agendas reforms, 74% of families nationally would have difficulty managing the cost of childcare. This includes nearly one in two parents (47%) who say they could definitely not afford any such increase. It also includes six out of 10 recipients of the major parent subsidy the Child Care Benefit. The reforms, developed under the umbrella of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), are due to be legislated in Victoria this month.

Eight out of 10 parents, surveyed to early August, say they already find the cost of childcare expensive and they have some or a lot of difficulty with payments. -

- “We need improvements but at what costs? If the costs go up you will find more mums forced to give up work and take from Centrelink, we don't want to do this, we want to WORK!!!!!, stop being so unfair.” Parent of two. Avon Valley. Western Australia.

Childcare Alliance Australia’s Gwynn Bridge says childcare providers support any move to improve early learning but reforms must not price children out of quality early learning and childcare altogether.

“Both major parties have committed to improving the timing of the Child Care Rebate which is a significant relief to our families at no additional cost to taxpayers,” Ms Bridge said. And 29% of parents’ surveyed say they are definitely more likely to vote for the party that brings forward the implementation date.

Ms Bridge said it was hoped Prime Minister Gillard will commit, as the Coalition has done, to the delay and review of the reforms being rushed through by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG). Parents also want both parties to increase the Child Care Benefit to help those struggling on a lower income.

“We believe that all children, regardless of where they live or what their parents earn, should be able to afford to access quality early learning programs. This is what parents want.” ENDS

Media enquiries: National. Gwynn Bridge 0418 764779. Other State reps below. The survey may be downloaded from www.childcareqld.org.au.