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Child care could cost just $10 a day under new proposal to help families: ‘Enormous opportunity’

The bill would also grant up to 52 weeks of paid parental leave and make child care free for low-income households.

Child care could cost just $10 a day for families if a new proposal gets the green light.

Sending a child to daycare in Australia can cost mums, dads and guardians upwards of $200 per day, which can put a huge dent in the family budget, especially in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis.

However, a bill organised by early-childhood advocates and backed by independent MP Zoe Daniel hopes to dramatically lower that daily cost.

Children at child care with an insert of a $10 note
Families could pay just $10 a day for child care under the proposal. (Source: Getty)

Do you have a story about struggling with childcare costs? Email stew.perrie@yahooinc.com

The initiative would cap the cost of child care at $10 per day for three days per week for children under the age of five.

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Not only that, but the proposal would see low-income families pay absolutely nothing for child care, while all parents would be offered up to 52 weeks of paid parental leave.

Daniel told NCA Newswire: “It’s the bold, visionary reform that we so seldom see in Australia and, in that sense, it’s an enormous opportunity. The exciting and transformative benefits far outweigh the costs.”

The bill will be up for consultation from today and the organisers will be hoping to get the support of other MPs from across the political spectrum.

This comes after legislation passed through parliament earlier this week cementing the increase of paid parental leave to 26 weeks by July 2026.

The move is tipped to benefit more than 180,000 families each year but it will cost taxpayers about $4.4 billion, annually, from 2026/27.

Childcare reform in 2023 wasn’t enough

The government introduced childcare reforms in July last year, which helped more than 1 million families save thousands of dollars a year in childcare costs.

Changes to the Child Care Subsidy (CCS) meant most families would have a greater percentage of their childcare fees covered. While the move was welcomed with open arms by families doing it tough, the happiness was short-lived in some households.

New mum Leah quickly realised it wouldn’t be enough.

“Our subsidy increase didn’t even offset the increase from the centres,” Leah told Yahoo Finance.

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“The government is doing absolutely nothing. Some centres increased it by more than $10 or $15 a day.”

Leah wasn’t alone in her dismay, with other parents taking to social media to vent their frustrations at not getting much relief.

“[Our childcare provider] raised it more than the extra subsidy. So, now I’m paying more out of pocket than before,” one person said.

“I cried when I realised I wasn't actually going to be better off,” another said.

“Thanks again [for the] privatisation of essential services. It's just like how private schools keep getting more and more taxpayer funds but also keep raising fees,” a third parent complained.

A spokesperson from the Department of Education told Yahoo Finance the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) was monitoring childcare costs.

"There are already hourly rate caps in place, putting downward pressure on fees, and the ACCC has been tasked with investigating the many factors that drive cost," they said.

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