Child Care in Australia: Affordability, Availability and Subsidies

Justine McNamara

    Research output: Working paperDiscussion paper


    Many Australian families are juggling paid work with raising children. Child care, both formal and
    informal, makes this intricate balancing act possible.
    The decision around whether to return to work after having children is not an easy one. Child care is
    expensive and families have to manage many important financial, family and social obligations.
    Families making the difficult decision about a return to work have to not only consider upfront child
    care costs, but also the potential impact of paid work on the Government benefits they may receive.
    Where a person lives will also have a big impact on their child care costs, with some daily rates as high
    as $170 a day.
    An important focus of this report is the affordability of child care for families and the impact child care
    costs have on the decision to work. The report outlines the trends in child care use and costs and then
    considers the complicated interactions between returning to work, the loss of Government benefits
    and the costs of increasing child care use.
    There is great variation in the cost of child care across the country and the report explores Australia’s
    most and least affordable regions.
    The Government subsidises child care through a number of benefits, but the current system is
    expensive and complicated. The report considers Government benefits received by families using child
    care and their effectiveness and explores possible alternative support systems.
    While providing benefits to working parents is expensive, Australia needs women to work and
    contribute to the tax system to help the nation manage the cost of an ageing population
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationSydney
    Number of pages36
    Publication statusPublished - 2006

    Publication series

    NameAMP.NATSEM Income and Wealth Report
    PublisherAMP. NATSEM


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