Market Forces Fail to Deliver Accessible and Affordable Childcare

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Coloured wooden building blocks on wooden floor.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) yesterday released the second interim report for their 2022-23 inquiry into childcare. Included in the report are draft findings and recommendations on the costs, profitability and viability, policy, and effectiveness of market regulations specific to the Australian childcare sector – with reference to other OECD countries which largely tend to have relatively more affordable childcare services.

The interim report contains 18 draft findings and 7 draft recommendations. The draft recommendations focus primarily on government policy, regulatory framework, improvements to the Child Care Subsidy, market regulations, educator workforce retention, the quality and content of Starting Blocks (an Australian Government website intended to provide families with information about childcare), and the importance of greater support for Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations that provide childcare and for First Nations children and families.

A key aspect of the September interim report is the stress placed throughout the report on the necessity for a nuanced and localised approach to government policies on childcare. In other words, the inquiry specifically warned that “a single policy approach that achieves desired outcomes for all children and households may not be possible” and that “[a] mix of different measures and supports is likely to be a more suitable approach to meet the needs of different types of children and households in a range of different locations and situations.”

Submissions in response to the September interim report are open, and will close at 11:59pm (AEST) 29th October 2023. All interested parties are invited to make a submission to the ACCC. For more information about making a submission please see here.

The ACCC’s media release on the interim report and draft recommendations can be found here.

For more information about the childcare inquiry see the ACCC page here.

For the September interim report see here, and for the June interim report see here.

The information for submissions to the inquiry into childcare located here.