Some Canberra families' working lives hang in the balance of the findings of the Productivity Commission's report into childcare.
Kellie Gale's parents live in Merriwagga, a small town near Griffith, five hours away from her home in Nicholls where she lives with her firefighter husband from Goulburn.
With three children under five, she says trying to arrange childcare and deal with sick children in the height of summer fire season "gets entertaining", as her two-year-old twins call for her from the yard.
But it's not just the lack of family back-up that makes Ms Gale nervous. The upcoming findings of the Productivity Commission report into childcare, which is expected to lead Coalition policy in the area, are a high-stakes game for the couple.
Ms Gale said she earns $1500 a fortnight from working three days a week as a personal assistant at a law firm while paying $882 a fortnight in childcare fees after the childcare rebate.
Last year she said she earnt $43,000 and paid $46,000 in fees before getting more than $22,500 back on the rebate.
"Throw in mortgage, petrol, parking ... If they changed it at all or reduced it, it would be the difference between whether I could afford to work or not," Ms Gale said.
Submissions are still ongoing to the report but the draft recommended families on an income of $60,000 or less would get 90 per cent of their childcare covered, moving downwards so families on $300,000 or more would get 30 per cent.
Submissions to the review reveal Ms Gale is not alone. Lobby group The Parenthood surveyed 1015 parents, finding three in four parents would reduce hours or stop working altogether if the childcare rebate was reduced or means-tested.
A senate committee report into childcare, tabled on Thursday, confirmed income thresholds for the means-tested Child Care Benefit will remain the same for the next three years.
The federal budget also set out that instead of rising, the non-means-tested Child Care Rebate, will also remain capped at $7500 a year, and indexation paused.
The draft recommends a single, means-tested payment directly paid to the provider, to replace the Child Care Benefit and the childcare tax rebate. Whether this will reduce what some families get back will be revealed when the commission reports on October 31.