Childcare fees may double

CHILDCARE fees could double for thousands of parents after Tony Abbott confirmed he would freeze the maximum amount families can claim for the childcare rebate until 2017.

Despite criticising Labor’s own planned freeze during the election in a personally signed letter to childcare centres across Australia, the Abbott government introduced legislation to embrace the freeze last week.

Government modelling suggests that by 2017, up to 150,000 families – 15 per cent of all families using childcare – will be forced to pay double the price for care after they hit the childcare cap.

Parents now secure a ­refund for 50 per cent of their out-of-pocket childcare costs under the childcare rebate.

After they spend more than $15,000 per child and secure a $7500 cashback from taxpayers they will secure no relief and have to pay the full price of childcare. But the changes mean the maximum parents can claim for every child will remain frozen at $7500 until 2017. With rising prices of $100-a-day or more for childcare, many families are hitting the cap already.

While the childcare rebate is not means tested, the cap ­operates as a de facto means test as many families could not afford to spend $15,000 a year or more on childcare.

This year, government figures confirm an estimated 75,000 families will hit the cap for the childcare rebate and be forced to pay double.

Next year, that figure will rise to 100,000.

Arguing it had little choice but to claim the $100 million savings given the budget deficit, Childcare Minister Sussan Ley said the affordability for parents was a big concern.

“Prices are going up beyond a  level of affordability,” Ms Ley said.

“They’ve gone up 44 per cent over the last six years. One of the issues that our Productivity Commission inquiry will look at is affordability.”

Ms Ley also raised hopes that the Abbott government could reconsider the pause in future budget.

Ms Ley is also to shortly ­announce how the Abbott government plans to proceed with $300 million earmarked to ­improve the wages of childcare workers.

Opposition childcare spokeswoman Kate Ellis said Mr Abbott had said one thing to childcare centres during the election before embracing the cuts as Prime Minister.

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Childcare fees may double
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カテゴリー: Childcare   パーマリンク


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