An unprecedented number of families are using child care since the Australian Government introduced new measures to make it more affordable.
Minister for Early Childhood and Child Care Kate Ellis today said the latest Child Care Update shows an 8 per cent increase in the number of families using child care.
“Never before have there been more children in Australian child care or more Government assistance subsidising their fees,” Ms Ellis said.
The Child Care Update shows over 704,000 families were using approved child care services in the September quarter 2011, the latest figures available from the Government’s child care assistance system.
Ms Ellis said the Labor Government’s record $19.9 billion investment in direct child care assistance for families was making improvements to the lives of children and families.
“What these new figures show is that the out-of-pocket costs for a family with a combined income of $115,000 per year have fallen from 11.4 per cent under the Howard Government to 7.7 per cent under this Labor Government.
"The number of children in care during that period also increased 9 per cent to reach a record 992,520. More than 60 per cent of them were in long day care, and close to a third in outside school hours care.
“The latest figures show that more Australian children have been accessing vital early learning opportunities, and we hope to see this continue to grow as improvements are made to the quality of early childhood education and care.”
In September last year, 14,523 child care services were operating in Australia – up 3.2 per cent over the year.
“There has been strong growth in demand for child care services, because more Australian parents have been supported to access child care for the first time,” Ms Ellis said.
“We are committed to continuing to working on the next steps to help parents and children with their early childhood needs but we are proud of the progress we’ve made to make child care more affordable, accessible and quality.
“And today’s data confirms our policies are working.
“This report provides an important reality check and shows that the Opposition’s claims masses of families are being driven out of childcare services and forced into backyard care are just another one of Tony Abbott’s baseless negative scare campaigns.”
The Child Care Update is available on the DEEWR website.