The Federal Government’s subsided nanny program is facing serious criticism with a high percentage of families who signed up for the program shocked by the hourly rate of child care.
The cost, of nearly $1200 for a standard working week of care for one child (more than $30/hour), has private providers hired by the government to provide the nannies reconsidering their involvement with the program because they cannot convince families to pay the high fees.
The nanny program, subsided by the Federal Government to the tune of $246 million, is supposed to benefit up to 10,000 children. The program is due to being operating this month, but in December a cap of 3000 families was imposed as the Coalition amended spending incentives.
Some families that have signed up for the pilot programme, have stated that they have no intention of continuing with it after learning the full costs involved.
The Education Department’s website indicates the official fee schedule for nannies will cost between $25 and $30 per hour, before the subsidies kick in.
But parents in Canberra have been told the nannies will cost $35 an hour, with the maximum subsidy per child of $5.95 per hour available only to families earning less than $60,000 a year. As a family’s income increases, the subsidy rates decrease dramatically.
Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham told the Fairfax press that the main aim of the nanny programme is to help families who struggle to get child care because they work non-standard hours, or live in regional or remote areas – but it was never intended to cover the full cost of nanny care.
“We are in the early stages of this pilot programme and while we are committed to delivering additional flexibility to more Australian families, the Pilot will help us to learn more about how best to structure longer term support and engagement,” Mr Birmingham said. “In the same way that families’ circumstances can change, the private operators delivering the programme in some cases may decide to alter the amount they charge parents based on individual commercial decisions.”
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