Latest statistics show a record number of families accessing child care courtesy of the Australian Government’s measures to increase affordability and availability.
Early Childhood and Child Care Minister Kate Ellis said the report released today revealed an extra 22,400 children were receiving child care over 12 months.
In addition, the number of child care services across Australia increased by more than 500.
“We’re a government that puts modern families first and there’s no greater way of helping those with small children than making child care more accessible and affordable,” Ms Ellis said.
“The latest Child Care Update shows our measures are working.
“We’re creating a more flexible, affordable, accessible child care system with higher quality standards and families around Australia are rightly taking advantage.”
The latest Update contains a snapshot of the sector taken at the end of June 2012 which shows there were 986,000 children in approved child care and 15,000 child care centres across Australia. More than 700,000 families were using child care.
These categories continued a long trend of strong growth over previous quarters.
More than a quarter of all children aged up to 12 years were now receiving child care.
“What we’re seeing is more children accessing child care in more services than ever before in our nation’s history,” Ms Ellis said.
“Couples with children who both want to work should be able to do so without having to worry about finding a place for their kids or being priced out of the system.
“The report shows families continue to feel confident sending their children to quality care facilities and the sector is feeling confident about delivering more services to families.”
Ms Ellis said the Government had paved the way through a range of measures, particularly the major increase in the Child Care Rebate.
“Our Government is investing a record $20.6 billion in direct child care assistance to parents over the next four years, more than triple that of the former Coalition Government,” she said.
“Our decision to increase the Child Care Rebate from 30 per cent to 50 per cent of out-of-pocket costs, and increase the cap on the rebate from $4354 to $7500 per child per year, continues to reduce the cost to families.
“We’ve also moved to increase quality care standards so parents can have peace of mind knowing their child is receiving the best care and attention.”
Ms Ellis said despite the encouraging news, a lot of work was still required to address the availability of child care, which required all levels of government to act.
“We know there are still many families who can afford child care but simply cannot find any centres that can take their children,” she said.
“The Australian Government has done a lot of work in this area but it also needs attention from other levels of government.
“For instance there continues to be huge barriers to child care services establishing new sites, particularly planning restrictions, and I’m very keen to work on this as a matter or priority with all tiers of government to make more child care places available where they are needed.”
The Child Care Update (June Quarter 2012) can be found at:http://mychild.gov.au/pages/ResourcesReports.aspx