Child care boom comes at a cost

The number of children in child care in WA has risen almost 40 per cent in six years, data to be released by the Federal Government today says.

As of last September, 60,970 WA families were using child care with a total of 84,600 children in care - up 39.6 per cent from September 2007.

During the same period, the number of childcare centres has rocketed 67 per cent to 1357, while the average hours spent in care each week increased 1.6 per cent to 23.1 hours.

Federal Assistant Minister for Education Sussan Ley released the figures ahead of a public hearing in Perth today into the Productivity Commission's draft report into the sector.

She said the cost of care was becoming increasingly unaffordable for WA families.

"Australian families should be able to plan child care around their work life, not their work life around child care," she said.

Public comment on the report closes on September 5, before the final report in October.

Rhianna King

The West Australian

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