Coag-parents Say No To Childcare Fee Hikes-1000 Strong Survey

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7th December 2009, 02:00am - Views: 479





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Childcare Alliance Australia

Media Release - Embargoed midnight Sunday December 06 2009







Nearly 8 out of 10 Australian families say they can’t afford

any Government-forced fee increases to childcare: 1000-

strong survey of parents reveals today


More than 1000 families with children in formal community or private long day child care centres

across Australia have said NO to the fee increases that may arise from the Government’s proposed

national childcare reforms.


In a clear message to COAG Ministers meeting in Brisbane today (Monday) to discuss the proposed

reform agenda, parents surveyed across Australia warn the Governments to consider the financial and

social impact on their families before implementing any reforms.


“It would economically drown my family. Don't forget interest rates are still going back up too.

-

Parent from the electorate of Mayo in South Australia


“I would have to quit my part time job - as I can't work full time as it is because Childcare is

already quite expensive. It took me a long time to find suitable hours for work - it would be

very sad to lose it” - Parent from the electorate of Wills in Victoria.


The quantitative and qualitative survey was conducted online amongst parents

by the Childcare

Alliance Australia which represents 70% of all long day childcare centres in Australia and whose staff

care and educate more than 330,000 young children. The 1095 responses were collated by research

field house My Opinions.


The groundbreaking survey found that 80% of parents surveyed nationally had heard of the

Government’s proposed reforms to childcare which includes increasing the ratio of staff to children.

88% of all parents already rate the early learning care their child receives as very good or excellent

while 90.2% class the staff at their child’s centre as very good or excellent.


“My child's future is my number one priority and I need to know that the centre in which they

attend daily, is of a high quality and standard, to ensure my child gets the best head start in

life, developmentally and social.”.- Parent from the electorate of Leichardt in Queensland.


However, when it comes to the anticipated fee increase (ranging from $13 - $22 per day per child) that

the Government’s reform agenda is expected to incur; the overwhelming majority of parents (79.3%)

say they could not afford to have their child or children continue at their centre. 


“I would not be able to afford the care and I would have to change the arrangements or drop

the number of days I use or stop working unless the Government provides real financial

assistance and backs up the proposals with financial support to the Centre or to the family.” -

Parent from the electorate of Adelaide in South Australia.


“It would put both financial and emotional strain on the family, the marriage and the children. If

we had to resort to lower level care and back yard child care then this too would put an

increased emotional stress upon the family”

-

Parent from the electorate of Moreton in

Queensland.


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In NSW, parents react even more strongly. 90.5% say no, they could not afford such fee increases.

The next highest reaction against the likely fee hikes was WA with 87.5% saying no and this was one

of the few states that has already moved to the higher staff-child ratios in early learning centres.


When asked what the impact would be on their families, the vast majority of parents surveyed say it

will be devastating for them and their children. Many working mothers say they will be forced to quit

their jobs and stay at home with their child. 


“I would have to quit work altogether. Again, it saddens me that as a woman I am effectively

being forced out of the workplace by non-family friendly child care.” Parent from the electorate

of Lilley in Queensland.


Others claim their families will have to cut back on other household essentials such as petrol and

groceries. Single mothers believe it may force them back onto the single parent pension.


“It (childcare) is vital to my existence. I am a single parent who is about to start my own

business - I certainly don't have an extra one hundred dollars per week to spare the cost of

living is soaring, I find this a morose subject!” Parent from Hasluck in Western Australia.


“We have no alternatives. Ultimately we'd sell our house rather than stop working. We have to

maintain our child-care”. Parent from the electorate of Kooyong in Victoria.


Childcare Alliance Australia’s national spokesperson, Ms Gwynn Bridge says her members applaud

the Federal Government’s recognition of the importance of quality private and community child care

but there are

very real concerns about the unintended consequences for families of the proposed

National Quality Agenda Early Childhood Education and Care.


“Many of our parents have few alternatives when it comes to child care. Many have no extended family

or no other reliable means of care. Many children will be forced into unreliable and potentially unsafe

backyard care arrangements,” Ms Bridge said.


“We need to make sure that these well intentioned reforms don’t price struggling families out of quality

early learning programs altogether.”


Ms Bridge called on the Prime Minister and all of the COAG Ministers to carefully consider the

financial and social impact on parents before

committing to implementing the proposed reform

agenda.


“As this survey demonstrates, parents consider Australia’s long day childcare centres are more than

satisfied with the care and early learning their children are receiving already. We need to ensure all

children have affordable access to quality early learning programs.


Our children are too precious and their futures too important for us to rush this through and get this

wrong,” Ms Bridge said.


The Childcare Alliance Australia will provide a report of the survey to the Prime Minister, the Minister

responsible for Childcare, the Hon Ms Kate Ellis, each Premier and their education Ministers.

ENDS


please do not hesitate to contact the national spokesperson of CAA, Ms Gwynn Bridge on 0418

764779 or the other State representatives on the contact details below:

ACT & QLD—Gwynn Bridge 0418 764

779

SA—Barbara Langford 0417 874 391

NSW—Lyn Connolly 0425 225 275

VIC—Lucian Roncon 0419 004 800

WA—Roslyn Thompson 0407 65177




Research Methodology: n=1095 online survey of parents whose child/children attend a long

day care centre. Survey conducted between October 13, 2009 and December 04, 2009.






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