BUDGET PRESSURE: Jessica Somerville and Michael Weir of Raceview, with four-week-old baby Maxwell, have concerns about upcoming changes to child care. Also pictured are Toby Somerville, 5, Bianca Somerville, 9, and Charlotte Somerville, 8.
BUDGET PRESSURE: Jessica Somerville and Michael Weir of Raceview, with four-week-old baby Maxwell, have concerns about upcoming changes to child care. Also pictured are Toby Somerville, 5, Bianca Somerville, 9, and Charlotte Somerville, 8. David Nielsen

'Childcare changes will cost us $9000 a year'

IPSWICH mum Jessica Somerville says the new Federal Government Child Care Package could leave her up to $9000 a year worse off.

While the Turnbull Government's aim was to leave more money in the pockets of working families, Ms Somerville said the package had led to uncertainty and concern for blended families such as hers.

Changes to the current child care system were announced last year and will see a new Child Care Subsidy replace the existing Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate from July 2.

"My current estimate will allow me to access the number of days I need, but under the changes I will be out of pocket $180 a week or $9360 a year," Ms Somerville said.

"We're a blended family with five of our children going to school and as soon as you get into the multiple family situation it gets more complicated as we share custody of my husband's daughters. As far as we can tell, families in that middle income group or lower income families are more supported, where both parents work full-time.

"There's so much pressure on you because the Government wants us to work, but when you don't have enough hours and nowhere to send your children it makes it very difficult. When you do get them in care, you can't afford to pay for it.

"The other issue is that when the kids are sick, you have to keep on paying for childcare and the same goes for public holidays. I'm lucky because I'm permanent part-time but if you're a casual worker it's just not feasible."

Australian Childcare Alliance spokesperson Nesha Hutchinson said the organisation had identified many types of families who would be worse off under the changes and hoped the Government would consider looking at how they could include everyone to benefit from the new changes.

"We are very concerned about particular pockets of disadvantaged families where work isn't available despite being willing and able or they have children with special needs," Ms Hutchinson said.

"We have spoken to the Government at length and they still have an opportunity to identify and put parameters around who will be scooped up in that safety net and can step up and make a big change."

According to Member for Oxley Milton Dick, 3500 local families stood to lose out under the new child care package. Mr Dick said the changes targeted families in the lowest income bracket, with 88,000 families across the country earning less than $65,710 worse off.

"For families who only have a single income of less than $65,710, access to early education will be cut from 24 hours to only 12 hours a week and for those families on a single income over $65,710 guaranteed access to 24 hours of subsidised access is now reduced to zero."

Families can visit the savings estimator at education.gov.au/childcare for more information on how the changes will affect them.



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