Report pushes single childcare subsidy

The days of parents receiving 50 per cent rebates for fees paid to "premium" childcare centres offering iPads, handcrafted cots, European bed linen and baby massages would be over under a proposal to change the rebate system.

In its draft report last month, the Productivity Commission recommended that a single, means-tested subsidy replace the existing rebate system and be paid directly to the chosen provider based on the "deemed cost" of a day's care - estimated at about $75.

Parents would be eligible only for half of that deemed cost and they would have to pay the difference between this cost and the actual price charged by the centre.

The Australian Childcare Alliance is calling on the proposed deemed figure to be revised up to $95 a day to more accurately reflect the costs faced by Australian parents.

Daily prices in WA range from $65 to $150 a day, which is charged by the family-operated Schools of Early Learning in Nedlands, Subiaco and West Leederville. The centres are booked solid.

Figures the Productivity Commission provided to _The West Australian _ showed that 22 postcodes - covering suburbs including Perth, Leederville, Nedlands, Cottesloe, Como, Applecross and Fremantle - had average childcare costs of more than $7.50 an hour. The cheapest care, of between $5.50 and $6.50 an hour, could be found in Canning Vale, Parkwood, Welshpool and Rivervale.

The West Australian

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