Childcare report 'deeply misleading'
Labor MP Andrew Leigh accuses the government of basing its latest report into rising childcare costs on misleading calculations.PT2M8S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-31wmh 620 349 February 3, 2014
The Coalition has seized on new figures that show the hourly cost of long day care has increased by 50 per cent since 2007, blaming the rise on the Rudd-Gillard governments. But Labor has accused the government of being ''sneaky'' with the figures.
The Education Department's June 2013 quarter report on childcare and early learning, released on Monday, shows the average fee, per hour, of long day care was $7.50 between April and June last year, when Labor was still in power - up from a $5 average in the September quarter of 2007, at the end of the Howard government.
Alarm at fee rise: The hourly cost of childcare has reportedly increased by 50 per cent since 2007. Photo: Peter Braig
The report comes as submissions close on Monday for a Productivity Commission inquiry into the childcare sector, initiated by the Abbott government.
''Childcare now costs the average parent about an extra $70 per week per child than it did before Labor took office - for the exact same number of hours,'' Assistant Education Minister Sussan Ley said. ''That's extremely concerning.''
Early Childhood Australia chief executive Samantha Page said with wages making up about 80 per cent of long day care costs, wage increases over the six-year period would account for a ''fair proportion'' of the cost change. But she said Labor had not adequately funded a 2012 national quality framework, that included reforms such as standardising child-to-staff ratios.
Opposition education spokeswoman Kate Ellis said the Coalition was being ''sneaky'' and that Labor had worked to reduce costs for parents by increasing the childcare rebate, which pays a maximum of $7500 a child, each year.