The cost of living hits families hard as the G8 childcare giant hikes fees for a third time

One of Australia’s largest childcare providers, G8, is hitting parents with its third fee hike – beating them with a price hike of up to 17 per cent in a year – as the cost of living hits families hard.

Gold Coast-based G8, which has 440 centers including chains Casa Bambini and Pelican Childcare, told parents in an email that it will pay rent, groceries, electricity and grounds maintenance from April 30.

Two years ago, the ASX-listed company announced it had underpaid 27,000 workers since 2014, with repayments expected to cost as much as $80 million.

A parent from South Australia told this Australian Financial Report that since January of last year, the fees for her three-year-old had increased from $128 a day to $150 a day, including the latest increase — a total increase of 17 percent.

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The G8 had hiked their fees in January 2022 before enforcing a surprise increase in June due to an “unexpected surge” in inflation, before hitting parents with another hike earlier this year.

The company previously announced that its earnings before interest and taxes would reach $50 million for the five months ended November.

The G8 move comes ahead of the federal government’s changes to make childcare cheaper from July this year.

Childcare subsidy rates will increase from 85 percent to 90 percent for families earning less than $80,000 and will be phased out until they reach $530,000.

Families will continue to receive the existing higher subsidy rates of up to 95 percent for their second and all further children aged up to five years.

However, with reports that a number of day care centers have made several increases over the past year, the question is how much relief families will actually receive.

Parenthood chief executive director Georgie Dent said affordability of childcare is a major concern for Australian families, making returning to work a difficult decision.

“We know that over the past year, fees have increased by about 8 percent on average. We know the average cost per day is $133 right now, but there are suburbs in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney where families are paying close to, if not over $200 a day, and it adds up a lot quickly becoming very prohibitive,” she told the radio station 3AW.

“And then the general pressure on the cost of living means that many families are in a very difficult financial situation.”

According to OECD data released last year, Australia is the second most expensive country in the world for childcare.

A couple with children in full-time care spends 60 percent of the average income in gross childcare fees, only after Switzerland.

Ms Dent said that with fees so high, “many” families have made the decision that having both parents working is not worth it.

But this has “huge costs” for parents who don’t stay connected to the paid workforce and for children who miss out on the benefits and benefits of quality early education, she added.

“If you think of the widespread shortage of skilled workers at the moment and then especially of the mothers, that we know who is here, who is competent, who is willing and able to work – we have to make early childhood education and care much more affordable,” she said.

“So that they can decide whether they want to work three shifts a week or five shifts a week.

“We want them to be able to make that choice because we need nurses, we need teachers, we need that — there are very few jobs across the country right now that we don’t need people immediately.”

Originally released as Cost of living hits families hard as the G8 childcare giant hikes fees for a third time

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