Provider wants simpler childcare payments

Walid Amin, of Launceston, with his children Karma, 11, Yasseen, 11 months, Malak, 5, Taha, 6, and Nourin, 9. The family spends $400 a week on childcare. Picture: PAUL SCAMBLER

Walid Amin, of Launceston, with his children Karma, 11, Yasseen, 11 months, Malak, 5, Taha, 6, and Nourin, 9. The family spends $400 a week on childcare. Picture: PAUL SCAMBLER

SIMPLIFYING childcare payments would ease costs on families that have been highlighted in a new survey, a leading Launceston service provider says.

Northern Children's Network chief executive Steve Yates said yesterday that childcare costs were a major burden for many families.

He said for some mothers, they questioned the value of returning to work because most of their wage went on childcare costs.

But Mr Yates said childcare workers were skilled operators who were often paid above award rates, plus there were normal business costs and often extras, such as providing hot meals.

He was commenting on an AMP.NATSEM report released yesterday that found the primary carer, typically the mother, lost about 60 per cent of her gross income when returning to full-time work after having children.

Mr Yates said childcare was a difficult issue to analyse because charges varied across the country and parents received multiple government rebates.

He said one way to reduce costs would be to simplify the government payment system.

One Launceston family agrees that childcare is a major cost.

Walid Amin and his wife Raham Elsousi have five children.

Two of them are in childcare while Ms Elsousi is studying, at a cost of $400 a week.

Mr Amin said the cost was a huge burden and was made worse because they were charged for a full 12-hour day, even if the child was not there for the full time.

He urged the federal government to look at some relief from the costs, as it discouraged people from working or studying.

The survey found that middle income mothers who worked part-time lost about 45 per cent of their pay when returning to work.

But mothers already working part-time who increase their hours to full-time will lose 75 per cent of the extra hours worked.

The average cost of childcare has increased by 150 per cent in the past decade, jumping from $30 to $75 a day for long day care.

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