The demand for childcare has never been greater. Two decades ago there were 256,000 children in childcare, now that figure's soared to 964,000.
For mum Melinda Weaver to put her kids in childcare would cost around $240 a day. It is so expensive and inflexible that Weaver has been forced to give up a successful career as a travel agent.
Now she works from home and her children are in care just one day a week.More stories from Today Tonight
"You can't put a price on the care of your children but it's very expensive, and I was nervous if it increased over time. It has gone up, it's steadily increasing. It's only $10 a day but that adds up per child and per day," she said.
National reforms improving staff to child ratios are blamed for putting pressure on fees. In the last year in Melbourne childcare fees have gone up nearly fourteen per cent to $75 a day. Fees in Sydney increased by more than eleven per cent to $68 a day; and in Brisbane they're up more than ten per cent to $67 a day.
According to Sue Lines, the assistant national secretary of United Voice "we've got a really low paid workforce with educators earning just $18.51 an hour."
Lines says that while fees soar childcare workers are deserting the industry.
"180 each week leave because they can't afford to stay in the jobs they love," she said.
After 28 years in child care, 45-year-old Kerry Devir is facing a career change.
"One of the newer educators here was working at Coles and she took a pay cut to work with us," Devir said.
She worries Australia's childcare system could become something only the rich can afford, and Roli Shrivasta tends to agree. She is spending $14,000 a year for full-time care for daughter Keisha.
Because the Government rebate is capped, she gets 50 per cent back, but only for ten months of the year.
"So two months I have to pay full price each day, so that means I'm paying $2000 per month," Shrivasta said.
According to Childcare Minister Kate Ellis "Our Government recognises that traditional centre-based care isn't the answer for every family. There will be seventeen per cent more in-home care places right across Australia."
Ellis recently announced funding for almost 800 extra places for approved in-home carers, but admits more needs to be done, hosting a number of summits with the industry to discuss a major shakeup.
On the table is scrapping the rebate and funding childcare centres directly in return for centres capping fees. There are even plans to trial late-night and weekend childcare to cater for the growing number of shift workers.
Laura Silvera from the Worldtower Childcare Centre in Sydney says "the majority of the families who call are desperate for the care."
The centre is one of the few open 24 hours a day. Silvera says it is an essential service but an expensive one.
"You're looking at $40 per hour per child. After hours care is four times as expensive as day care," she said.