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.”

Image source: Shutterstock

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  • what exactly is the pilot programme?


  • Need more information about this programme and the pros and cons. Might be worth checking out the official sites for information.


  • Sounds like a big failure to me. Are they assuming those that work out of hours, earn more?


  • IIf you work 8 hours a day and allow 1/2 hour for travelling it is going to cost you approx $240 per day. It would work out about the same as childcare for TWO children. If you only have one child is it really viable? If you have 2 average wages coming in you aren’t going to get much subsidy if any. Food is included in the price of childcare. Presumably you may have to provide food for your Nanny too which adds to the cost…….We need more community childcare centres. Maybe the Govt. should give grants towards the cost of more childcare centres.


  • It could still be cost effective if you have more than one child.


  • I cannot understand how this scheme is going to help anyone. Even wealthy families would be better off hiring their own nanny at a significantly cheaper hourly rate. Just another waste of government money which should be spend on community child care centres.


  • The government is seriously out of touch with this issue. On one hand they want to encourage women to return to work but financially it is becoming impractical to do so. As a Mum of 1 I am losing money by working 5 days a week given the cost of child care. With a second on the way I can only work 3 days (even factoring the changes for 2017) before I am again losing out. I would love a third but by that stage there is no way I will be able to justify working. Even a nanny would not ease the financial burden. I have no qualms with being a stay at home mum if required but get frustrated at the government constantly claiming they are helping mums get back to work and that they are committed to closing the gender gap in the workforce.


  • Those figures are correct, those are the costs. The program is only beneficial for the super rich or families with multiple children… if you only have one or two children there is no point… you may as well pull out like i did and be a stay at home mum or dad! its such a stupid proposal, instead of spending millions on a flawed expensive nanny system the government should be supporting the existing childcare system


  • The prices are absurd. The subsidy is so low. I don’t expect such a program to be a big success!


  • Seriously, it’s cheaper for me to stay at home and raise my own kids then return to work.

    • Sometimes this is sadly the case for some families.

      • yeah for too many people this is the case. It sure is not easy and it is stressful!


  • We have been approved for the programme, our assigned care provider is charging $35 an hour for Monday to Friday office hours and $40 an hour for weekends and outside normal hours, my husband is a fifo worker and I am a nurse so definitely do not keep office hours and as we only qualify for the minimum rebate of $3.75 or there abouts an hour it will end up costing more than I make in a shift, we have sadly withdrawn from the programme and will continue to juggle my shifts as we have been.


  • I believe there has to be some cost to the families who work and use child care (of any kind). The figures here seem a bit off though. It will be interesting to see the governments response, and what signed families actually do. Flexibility with childcare is definitely needed in our society.


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