FIRST ON 7: A new study has found what many parents already suspect: the high cost of child care makes it prohibitive for many women to return to work.

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Business groups like the Women’s Chamber of Commerce want both sides of politics to commit to lowering childcare costs in the run up to the election.

They say childcare can’t keep up with the demand from working mothers.

One example is Kathryn Fantov, who lost her job because she couldn’t find any childcare vacancies for her children.

“They basically told me that if I couldn't put in more hours or commit to more hours there was no longer a position for me, so I was made redundant,” she said.

She now runs a business from home and studies relying on a mix of day care and occasional care.

Kathryn is far from alone.

Yolanda Vega from The Women’s Chamber of Commerce told 7News: “The two biggest issues with the child care system is that it's not affordable and it's not accessible.”

It's launching an ad campaign showing how much the average cost of child care takes out of the average working mum's wage. They argue the little left over is discouraging women from work and business.

Ms Vega says: “They're literally unable to survive on the $160 that's left over.”

The Woman's Chamber of Commerce is calling for changes including encouraging more in-home child care and providing rebates for it. For more information, visit their website.

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