When Rushcutters Bay mother of two Chantelle Fields found out she was pregnant with her first child in 2011 she put her unborn daughter’s name down on waiting lists with local childcare centres.
More than three years later, she’s finally found a spot for Ava, now two and a half, for one day a week.
In the meantime, she has had a second baby, 12-month-old Thea, and has recently returned to work full time on a contract basis.
Given the lack of centre-based care options in the inner city, the contractual nature of her job as an office manager and her husband’s long hours and travel, Ms Fields hired a nanny.
She believes families in her situation should be eligible for a childcare subsidy, as recommended in the Productivity Commission’s draft report.
‘‘I can’t find centre-based care with five days a week available,’’ she said. ‘‘Inner-city Sydney is the most heavily populated area of the country and there is not enough supply to meet demand. A lot of the centres in the city are filled with children whose parents work in the city. We had to hire a nanny if I was going to work. There was no other option.’’
The Productivity Commission’s draft report into childcare has recommended that qualified nannies should be able to apply for approved provider status, meaning that families who employ them would be eligible for childcare assistance.
Ms Fields, who pays $20 an hour for the nanny's time, says a rebate would be welcome.
‘‘It’s wonderful but it’s not cheap,’’ she said.
‘‘By the time you pay for the nanny, you barely have any of your salary left. You are working for nothing basically. But if you are out of the workforce too long, it’s hard to get back in. It’s a catch-22.’’