Relief for working families from rising childcare fees should be at the top of the national agenda given new figures that show the cost of childcare has skyrocketed by 30% in the past two years.

ACTU President Sharan Burrow said:

“Childcare costs are now a major burden on people as they try to balance work and family.”

“The ACTU hopes the Prime Minister will address the problem of rising childcare costs in his family statement that is expected to be announced later today (Wednesday).”

“The new ACTU analysis of ABS data shows that over the past two years childcare costs have risen by 30% – this is more than five times the rate of inflation (5.5%) and around three times the rate of wages (10.7%).”

“Childcare is a major cost in the weekly budgets of Australian families with figures showing that both parents work in over 60% of families.”

“Over the past 20 years there has been a major drop in the number of single breadwinner families from around one in two families (51%) to now less than one in three families (31%).”

“The shift in families towards both parents working is big cultural change that the Federal Government is largely ignoring.”

“Families need affordable and good quality childcare but the Government has failed to respond to the big price rises in childcare fees that have occurred over the past two years.”

“The ACTU is pushing for affordable high quality childcare as part of a major union campaign this year for work and family balance.”

“A central feature of the campaign is the ACTU Work and Family Test Case which is due to be heard by the Australian Industrial Relations Commission in June.”

“The ACTU Test Case is claiming family-friendly improvements in workplaces including:

  • The choice for parents to switch to part time work. Research shows that 60%
    of mothers working full time would prefer to go part time.
  • Extending unpaid parental leave from 12 to 24 months.
  • Flexible working hours and holiday times to accommodate school and
  • Five days extra paid leave to care for a child or relative.”