Australia’s child care sector continues to support growing numbers with 1.3 million children enrolled and almost 900,000 Australian families using the sector.
The latest data from the Department of Education and Training found the average fee growth across all service types slowed to three per cent in the year to December quarter 2017, among the lowest increases in the past decade and less than half the long-term average of 6.3 per cent.
The number of Indigenous children in approved child care grew by 7.4 per cent in the 12 months to the December quarter 2017, increasing to 34,500.
Minister for Education Dan Tehan said strong enrolments in Long Day Care and Outside School hours Care had accounted for the rise in Indigenous children using child care.
"Almost half of Indigenous children in child care are attending services in rural and regional Australia," Mr Tehan said.
"We’ve seen very strong growth in Indigenous enrolments in the sector, with the 7.4 per cent annual growth in the December quarter 2017 building on an 8.1 per cent increase in the preceding year.
"Australia’s child care sector provides a service that hundreds of thousands of Australian families rely on.
"The Government’s new Child Care subsidy has ensured families earning the least and those working the most are supported to access the child care they need.
"Ensuring the integrity of the child care system is essential and the Government’s legislative measures addressing fraud and non-compliance, as well ongoing enforcement efforts, have prevented around $2.8 billion being inappropriately paid to non-compliant and fraudulent child care providers between January 2014 and June 2018."