Money Relief for families facing crushing childcare fees

02:51  09 november  2017
02:51  09 november  2017 Source:   MSN

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Emma and Stephen Varney were finding it near impossible to juggle work, their mortgage and the cost of child care for their two girls, Jade and Chloe.

"When we reached our cap and were going to have to start paying $800 a week, that was so stressful," Mrs Varney told A Current Affair.

Mr Varney said adding the mortgage to childcare costs would have meant they could not even have put food on the table.

"I would have to start working two jobs and Emma not work at all (to look after the kids)," he said.

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"She'd come home with $100, what's the point in that? You're not seeing your kids for 100 bucks a week."

The Melbourne couple would be paying more than $40,000 a year in child care if they'd stayed with their day care provider.

That's just shy of the national average of $46,800 a year for full-time child care.

The Australian average is much higher than the United Kingdom's, where full-time child care costs on average $26,000.

In Germany's capital Berlin, child care costs as little as 23 euros ($34) a month, for five days a week, regardless of parental status or income.

The Coalition says it's working to fix the "broken" system, and is planning a sweeping overhaul from July next year.

"(Aussie families) are going to see the abolition of that terrible $7500 child care rebate cap that currently afflicts so many families," Education Minister Simon Birmingham said.

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It's low and middle income families which will benefit the most.

"Almost one million Australian families will be better off," Mr Birmingham said.

"For many families, the type of assistance we're providing will enable them to decide to work an extra day, or pick up some extra hours, because they know they'll be able to afford the child care bills, rather than run out of child care rebate or subsidy midway through the financial year."

Families will have to meet an activity test, which means they'll have to be working or studying in some sort of training or volunteer work to be eligible.

Under the changes, a family on a combined $80,000 with both parents working full-time, and two children in day care for five days per week, at a cost of $100 a day will be more than $8500 better off.

The Varneys were lucky, and have found more affordable and flexible family day care for their girls.

"We were stressed out about it and, and then we just started googling casual child care in Ferntree Gully and we found one," Mrs Varney said.

"It's a family that run it, a mum and her daughters, who are the child care teachers. It's really great."

For more information on the changes, you can head to the government's website.

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