When did we collectively decide that it’s someone else’s responsibility to cover our childcare costs?
Before I had kids, I always knew that daycare fees would eventually become part of my family budget.
But it seems to me that too many Gold Coast parents – and I’m talking about the two-income, comfortable, enough disposable income to go to Thailand or Fiji every year families, not those who are genuinely struggling to get by on a tight income – are whining about their childcare “entitlements”.
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My family moved back to the Gold Coast in 2012 with our then-18 month old daughter. She had just started childcare in Sydney, at a cost of $130 per day.
When we enrolled her in a lovely daycare centre in Burleigh, I almost started laughing when the director confirmed the daily fees were just $78. The government gives all parents 50 per cent back (up to $7,500), so my out of pocket cost was going to be just $36.
“This is incredible!” I thought. “How can anyone on the Gold Coast complain about the cost of childcare? These fees are so affordable!”
Fast-forward three years and my fees are a little higher; this financial year, they increased to $89 per day. But after the rebate, my out of pocket costs are still less than $50 per day.
Yet, people still whinge about the cost of childcare. I see regular posts on Facebook from friends, complaining of a $3 per day childcare increase, or whining about the fact they “only” get 50 per cent back.
When did we all become so entitled?
I had lunch this week with a friend from Sydney, who will be going back to work shortly as her son is almost 12 months old. He’s enrolled full-time in a childcare centre where the fees will be an eye-watering $160 per day.
She’s handing over a whopping $41,000 per annum, less the $7,500 rebate, for childcare. When I told her how little I pay for the same service, her mouth almost hit the floor.
Perhaps it’s because I started out paying such exorbitant fees down south, but in my view, Gold Coast childcare fees are more than affordable.
Paying around $45 out of pocket per day, to access quality, experienced educators who care for our children in a safe, secure and stimulating environment isn’t a rip off. It’s a freaking bargain! And it’s about time we started to appreciate it.
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