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Survey Says: Childcare situation worsening

Media Release
Sarah Hanson-Young 20 Jan 2013

A Greens survey of over 230 childcare centres across Australia has found that fees and waiting lists are continuing to grow while the number of available places is shrinking.

"Several concerning trends have arisen from the survey which clearly shows that many parents will be finding it harder to enrol their children into childcare today than they were two years ago,” the Greens childcare spokesperson, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.

“Both fees and waiting lists are continuing to grow while the proportion of centres with places available is shrinking.

“When I was talking to parents for this survey I spoke to a mother who enrolled her child into a centre while she was pregnant, but there still wasn’t a place available when she needed one.

“We also heard about a childcare centre in Brisbane where, not only are there no places available, there is a waiting list that is 330 people long.

“When it came to available places we saw a very concerning situation in baby rooms, where the average rate of availability had dropped across the country by more than 10 per cent since 2010.

“We found the highest average fees were in Sydney, where the survey data showed parents were forking out just over$100 a day for care.

“Because the part time work cycle is focussed around the middle of the week, it was unsurprising to see in the survey that Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays are the hardest days for parents to find available care.

“We also saw that the information on the mychild website is often inaccurate and doesn’t reflect the real world experience many families are going through.

“Obviously there is a looming crisis in the sector and the government needs to be doing far more to improve both the quality and availability of childcare while also helping mums and dads cover the costs.

“The government and the coalition have not acted enough on childcare despite all the research showing that access to quality early education and care is vital to giving our children the best start in life.

"The figures in the Childcare Minister's own electorate are not pretty. In Adelaide almost 40% of centres with waiting lists have queues over 12 months long and 74% of centres have no baby rooms available at all, which is worse than it was three years ago.

“The Greens will continue campaign for more support for both parents and childcare centres to meet the needs of families around the country, because the figures are clearly showing that the situation is worse than the last time we did this survey in 2010.

“We need to see proper investment and serious engagement with the childcare sector from the government or this problem which holds many people, especially young mothers, out of the workforce will continue to grow.”

 

Media Contact: Noah Schultz-Byard 0427 604 760

 

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