-- R.G. Menzies
LIBERTARIAN/CONSERVATIVE DIGEST AND COMMENTARY FROM AN ACADEMIC PSYCHOLOGIST in Brisbane, Australia. My academic publications are widely read
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Insane childcare costs
A torrent of regulations have "gold-plated" childcare, making it generally unaffordable. So the government tries to restore affordability by giving subsidies. But the subsidies are not keeping up
It's deregulation that is needed if affordability is to be restored. One insane regulation is that a carer has to have a university degree or diploma -- and it goes on from there. There must also be a minimum educator-to-child ratio of 1:15, which is well-up on what it used to be.
There are also regulations about premises, furniture, materials and equipment; fencing; laundry and hygiene facilities; indoor and outdoor space – unencumbered space; toilet and hygiene facilities; ventilation and natural light; administrative space; nappy change facilities; outdoor space—natural environment and shade. And they all cost money that has to be recouped from fees in order to get a return on investment
"OUT-of-control" childcare costs are continuing to soar -under a new subsidy scheme, as the industry warns there is more hip-pocket pain to come. Even fees for some Queensland parents on the highest discount are hundreds of dollars higher than they were 12 months earlier.
Prices are expected to substantially rise again later this year with a review of child-care worker wages anticipated in the Coming months. The cost increases are biting now as parents return to work and scramble to find extra care for their children until school returns.
Education Minister Dan Tehan flagged that more action would be announced soon to crackdown on excessive fee increases by rogue childcare operators.
The annual cost of sending a single child to care is now reaching higher than $16,000 a' year in the inner city and parts of Brisbane's south, before rebates are applied.
Parents are forking out hundreds to thousands of dollars more, depending on where they live and how much they earn, just covering the increased costs applied by pro-viders since the subsidy started on July 2, 2018. The subsidy covers up to 85 per cent of the childcare fee depending on a family's household income.
Education Department data from September 2018 to September 2019 shows that childcare costs rose 42 per cent on average from $9.50/ hour to $9.90/hour during the 12-month period. But the Nathan area was the most expensive in the state. topping $17,000 a year pre-subsidy for one child in care for 31.6 hours a week, 48 weeks of the year after a 12.5 per cent increase in the hourly rate. Families there on the highest 85 per cent subsidy were still paying $2600 a year.
Families in Nundah, Nathan, Outback Queensland and Bundaberg on the full 85 per cent discount were paying $200 a year more out-of-pocket in September, compared to a year earlier.
Queensland Council of Social Services boss Mark Henley said child care was becoming unaffordable for many families. "For someone on minimum wage there's a decision to be made as to whether it's more costly to have ajob and put kids in child care, or if you're saving money by staying at home," he said.
Australian Childcare Association vice-president Nesha Hutchinson said profit margins were falling as rent and wage increases put pressure on care operators. "When they're putting up prices they don't want to gouge fainilies; they're just trying to remain financially viable," she said.
Despite the soaring costs, Mr Tehan said many. Austraian families were still paying less out of pocket now than they were before the new sub-sidy system started.
From the Brisbane "Courier Mail" of 18 January, 2020
By JR on Thursday, January 23, 2020
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