The country’s largest not-for-profit child care operator is facing a backlash from families after removing fees for public holidays – but jacking up daily charges.
The country’s largest not-for-profit child care operator is facing a backlash from families after removing fees for public holidays – but jacking up daily charges.

Big change coming to child care fees

The country's largest not-for-profit child care operator, Goodstart Early Learning, is facing a backlash from families after removing fees for public holidays.

Instead, it is increasing fees by $3 a day to cover the rent and pay staff.

It is a long-held practice in the child care sector that parents pay if their child regularly attends on a day that is a public holiday, usually a Monday - even though the centre is closed.

Goodstart Early Learning is the first child care provider to introduce fee-free public holidays.

Chief Executive Officer Julia Davison said the change was a result of listening to families who felt the current system was unfair.

She said previously a family who booked a Monday in a long day care centre could be paying for four to five days of care a year that they could not use.

Next year in Queensland there are nine public holidays, five of which fall on a Monday.

The first public holiday is on Wednesday, January 1.

Ms Davison said Goodstart Early Learning was subsidising the change but needed a small contribution from families.

FEE INCREASE: Brendan Jones with his children Eli, 6, Sameen, 4 and Isaac, 2, says he believes he will be paying more for child care. Picture: AAP Image/Richard Gosling
FEE INCREASE: Brendan Jones with his children Eli, 6, Sameen, 4 and Isaac, 2, says he believes he will be paying more for child care. Picture: AAP Image/Richard Gosling

"As a not-for-profit we believe access to high quality early learning should be affordable and equitable and this change will make it fairer for our families," Ms Davison said.

She said the majority of families would be better off under the change however a small percentage of families would see a slight increase across the year.

Many parents took to the provider's Facebook page to protest with many saying they would be hundreds of dollars out of pocket after subsidies.

"So you've made the decision to help us out and not charge us for the public holidays but charge us more every other day, which adds up more overall," wrote one mum. "It doesn't seem fair to me."

Another wrote that she would like to see how the $3 a day contribution was worked out and how many families who don't use the centres on public holidays would have to pay more. "I think some number fudging may be happening," she wrote.

Brendan Jones, who has two children attending Goodstart Early Learning said he would be worse off.

"It is unclear what the $3 a day charge is for? Is it an extra charge on top of our yearly fees," he said.

"It's around a 3 per cent increase and CPI isn't at that much?

"If most public holidays fall on a Monday or Friday how does this affect parents who don't place their kids in daycare for those days?"


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