Daily Telegraph: Fees go through roof as centres charge more than private schools

June 14, 2019

Sending a child to daycare can now cost as much as an expensive private school, with some Sydney providers charging an eye-watering $210 a day.


Parents are paying more for long daycare than the cost of an elite private school, with some Sydney providers charging an eye-watering $210 a day.


Australian Childcare Alliance NSW chief Chiang Lim told The Saturday Telegraph some families in North Sydney end up paying around $30,000 a year for part-time care, ballooning to $50,000 for five days a week.


In comparison The King’s School in Parramatta charges up to $36,900 a year in school fees while Loreto Kirribilli’s fees range from $15,000 to $22,000.


Mr Lim said it was “absurd” that the cost of daycare had exceeded private schooling but it was a tough fact that families in NSW shouldered the highest childcare costs in Australia.


“It is absurd that it can be more expensive than some of the elite private schools in Sydney,” he said.

But he said it was what the market could bear and Sydneysiders were hit with underlying high cost of real estate in well-heeled suburbs.


His comments come after the latest OECD cost of living report found Australia had among the highest childcare costs in the world, with families spending on average 26 per cent of their joint incomes on childcare.


While the average cost of childcare in Mosman is $159.56 a day, at least one centre in the suburb charges $210.


Elsewhere long daycare fees vary from $115 in Canterbury to $150 in Coogee.


“We really need a review of the entire system,” Mr Lim, whose organisation represents 1600 privately-owned daycare service providers in NSW, said.


Some families struggled to pay for the basics after childcare costs. Others in Sydney’s affluent areas could afford the high costs but put their children down on the waiting lists for community preschool costing $40 a day for six hours of care.


The federal government’s childcare subsidies are now paid directly to centres to reduce fees but are capped at an hourly rate of $11.77, offering little relief to the top fees.


Subsidies cut out when a couple has a combined income of $351,248 a year. If both parents combined earn between $186,958 and $351,248, the total subsidy is capped to $10,190 per child each year.


Mr Lim said the system meant parents were either working less or finding alternatives to childcare.

ACA NSW is pressing the state government to set up a working group to find the “ever elusive” answer of how to achieve childcare affordability, quality early childhood education and a cost-efficient regulatory system.


Social demographer Mark McCrindle said women were starting to overtake men in tertiary performance and society needed to think about how to retain that talent after they had families.


“They expect to start and continue their career after child-bearing years,” he said.



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