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Cost should not be a barrier to accessing childcare, a new report says. (Bigstock)

All children in Australia under the age of five should be able to access at least three days of childcare a week regardless of their parents’ work and income circumstances, the Productivity Commission has said. Source: The Guardian.

The Albanese Government tasked the commission with investigating the design of an affordable, accessible, high quality, universal early education system in February, including a universal 90 per cent subsidy rate to families for childcare fees, which the Government has floated as an aspiration.

In its first draft report, released last night, the commission said the fGovernment should ensure all children were able to access at least three days of childcare a week, regardless of their parents’ circumstances, under a universal system.

“The system can only be universal if every child is welcome. The Australian Government should increase funding to enable the inclusion of all children regardless of their ability or cultural background,” Commissioner Martin Stokie said.

Labor’s own childcare changes, an election promise that came into effect in July 2023, increased the subsidy to 90 per cent for families with income under $80,000. The subsidy tapers down from 90 per cent for households that bring in above that threshold, depending on income.

The Productivity commission recommended further raising the maximum rate of the childcare subsidy to 100 per cent for households on incomes up to $80,000, which the commission said accounted for approximately 30 per cent of all families with young children. The report also recommended relaxing the activity test on accessing the childcare subsidy so it does not present as a barrier to accessing care.


Australian government urged to guarantee three days of childcare a week for all children under five (By Stephanie Convery, The Guardian)