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New hope for Aussie parents struggling with child care costs

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Butler, Reid
Publication Date: 
8 Nov 2017


Emma and Stephen Varney were finding it near impossible to juggle work, their mortgage and the cost of child care for their two girls, Jade and Chloe.

"When we reached our cap and were going to have to start paying $800 a week, that was so stressful." Mrs Varney told A Current Affair.

"If you add our mortgage on to that, we wouldn't be able to put food onto the table at all. I would have to start working two jobs and Emma not work at all (to look after the kids). She'd come home with $100, what's the point in that? You're not seeing your kids for 100 bucks a week." Mr Varney said.

The Melbourne couple would be paying more than $40,000 a year in child care, if they'd stayed with their day care provider. That's just shy of the national average of $46,800 per year, for full time child care.
Compare the Australian average to the United Kingdom's. There, it's the equivalent of $26,000 AUD.

In Germany's capital Berlin, child care costs as little as 23 euros ($A34) a month, for five days a week, regardless of parental status or income.

The Coalition says it's working to fix the "broken" system, and is planning a sweeping overhaul from July next year. "(Aussie families) are going to see the abolition of that terrible $7500 child care rebate cap that currently afflicts so many families." Education Minister Simon Birmingham told ACA.

It's low and middle income families who'll benefit the most.

"Almost one million Australian families will be better off. For many families, the type of assistance we're providing will enable them to decide to work an extra day, or pick up some extra hours, because they know they'll be able to afford the child care bills, rather than run out of child care rebate or subsidy midway through the financial year" The Minister said.

Families will have to meet an activity test, which means they'll have to be working or studying in some sort of training or volunteer work to be eligable. Under the changes, a family on a combined $80,000 with both parents working full-time, and two children in day care for five days per week, at a cost of $100 a day will be more than $8,500 better off.

Emma and Steven were lucky, and have found more affordable and flexible family day care for their girls.

"We were stressed out about it and, and then we just started googling casual child care in Ferntree Gully and we found one. It's a family that run it, a mum and her daughters, who are the child care teachers. It's really great." Mrs Varney said.

For more information on the changes, you can head to this Government website:

-reprinted from

Entered Date: 
8 Nov 2017
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