Soaring childcare costs keep mums at home

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Ashley Stasiuk with her two sons three-year-old Isaac and two-year-old Kobie. Photo: Megan Dunn

Penrith families could be set to pay up to a whopping $223 a day for childcare by 2020, new figures reveal.

Fees will rise by up to 22 per cent over the next four years, according to a Department of Education document, as a political fight over childcare continues to grow.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham said these latest statistics drew ‘a line in the sand’ for Labor who must now clearly stop blocking and instead support the savings needed to pass the Turnbull Government’s $3 billion childcare reform package.

Glenmore Park mum, Ashley Stasiuk, said it doesn’t make sense for her to return to work.

“It’s one of the biggest reasons why I don’t work, because childcare for us is simply unaffordable,” she admitted.

“I’d be working to cover the costs – it’s just not worth it for us.”

While she would love for her children to go to daycare, Ms Stasiuk said it is virtually impossible.

“If I could afford it I would love to send them. It would be a great experience for them especially before starting school but it’s not worth the out-of-pocket expense,” she said.

“It’s really unfair on mums trying to get back into the workforce and it’s unfair on kids missing out because parents are struggling to afford it.”

Government plans to increase rebates are stalled as Labor warns that more childcare centres need to open to relieve stress when it comes to fees.

Owner of Kindy4Kids childcare centre in Penrith, Oxana Ignatova, said the problem exists on both ends.

“Costs are rising because of the rising wages in the industry and also the rising rent,” she said.

“Just last January the ratio of educators to children dropped from one to eight to one to five in any room so we have more staff on now too.

“Within the last year prices have already risen, so it is a big ongoing problem.”

Ms Ignatova said there are several factors to be considered.

“Particularly it’s the wages but there’s also new suburbs being built and not enough childcare centres to go around – we have a waitlist here so it’s pretty difficult to manage right now,” she said.

Rates will hit $175 a day in Melbourne, Brisbane $157 and Adelaide $138 by 2020.

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