Childcare costs: Most expensive areas revealed
Childcare costs have soared by up to $2700 a year for some families in regional Queensland, while inner city Brisbane and southern suburb parents are paying the highest rates in the state, new data reveals.
Even parents on the biggest subsidy are paying up to $400 of their own money a year more to keep their children in care in areas with the biggest price rises.
But the government has defended its subsidy scheme, saying 71 per cent of parents are paying just $5 an hour in out-of-pocket costs.
Queensland's central highlands were hit with a whopping 27 per cent price increase from March 2020 - just before COVID-19 hit.
It's an increase of $2776 a year compared to the same time last year, or $416 for those on the biggest subsidies and $1388 for people on the 50 per cent discount.
The Noosa Hinterlands were slugged with a 11.3 per cent rise or $1434 increase pre-subsidy.
Inner-city Brisbane residents are paying up to $17,000 a year pre-subsidy for childcare, an increase of $750 a year.
After the highest 85 per cent subsidy is applied it works out at an extra $113 a year they have to find in their budget.
Nathan, Kenmore, Holland Park, Yeronga, Buderim, Sherwood, Indooroopilly and others were all paying $15,000 a year or more for childcare, pre-subsidy.
Labor has seized on the Education Department data to argue for their $6.2 billion childcare package announced in the budget reply, which would lift the maximum subsidy to 90 per cent and remove the $10,560 cap.
Opposition early childhood education spokeswoman Amanda Rishworth said Queensland families had been hit with some of the biggest increases in the country.
"They need immediate relief or we risk Queensland families having to pull children out of early education and care, and parents not being able to work as a result," she said.
Education Minister Dan Tehan said the average fee increase was less than the long-term 10 year average of 5.3 per cent.
"Families pay taxes and under Labor's plan a family in Townsville earning $80,000 a year will be subsidising the childcare fees of a family in Sydney earning $360,000 a year,' he said.
He said taxpayers subsidise child care to the tune of $9 billion.
Brisbane mother of three Amanda Walker said her family nearly spends the same amount of money on childcare costs for one child as they do for groceries for their family of five.
"It's definitely something that we have to budget and factor into our finances. It's not something that we're able to just pay for, it's a major part of our budget," she said.
Mrs Walker added that the cost of childcare weighed heavily both her and her husband Aaron's decisions to go back to work.
She said they've got 18 months left of childcare payments which currently costs $250 per week.
"What we have been paying on childcare will go to paying off our mortgage, and we will pay off our mortgage 15 years earlier."
Originally published as Childcare costs: Most expensive areas revealed