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Child care fee hikes put squeeze on Macarthur families

Local families are being squeezed by ever increasing child care fees and the government should do something about it, says Dr Mike Freelander.

The Federal Member for Macarthur was commenting on the government’s latest quarterly data which shows child care fees are still going up in Macarthur.   

 In the year to March 2019, child care fees in the Camden region rose by 3.6 percent and 5.5 percent in the Campbelltown region.

In the Bringelly-Green Valley statistical area – which takes in parts of Macarthur’s growth areas including Gregory Hills, Oran Park, Catherine Field and Leppington – fees went up by a huge 9.4 percent, well above the national increase of 4.9 percent.

 Dr Freelander said this was bad news for local families, paying significantly more out of pocket for child care at a time when wages were stagnating.

“Fees in Australia have now increased by astaggering 30 per cent since the election of the Liberals,’’ he said.

“Over a year into the government’s new child care system and it has completely failed at putting downward pressure on fees – and families in Macarthur are paying the price.  

“The Morrison Government must act to ensure affordable, accessible and high quality early education and care is for families in our community.’’

Dr Freelander, pictured, pointed out that Labor took a raft of policies to the last federal election in May, which aimed to address the issues around affordability and access to child care for families.

These included a plan to establish a new two year National Preschool and Kindy Program, guaranteeing around 700,000 Australian children a year access to subsidised preschool.

In addition to guaranteeing funding for four year olds to access early childhood education, Labor also proposed a plan that it said would ensure every three year old in Australia would be able to access 15 hours of subsidised early childhood education.

“This would have helped reduce the weekly cost of early education and care for families if their three year old is already enrolled in these programs,’’ Dr Freelander said.

“We know that Australia is not doing enough and too many children are starting school behind.

“We spend less than the OECD average on early education, and other countries have already introduced universal access for three and four year olds.

“Our plan to invest in Early Childhood Education would have helped keep fees affordable for families that choose preschool and kindy,’’ Dr Freelander said.

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