Maitland’s family day care services could be forced to either close their doors or raise fees because of $157 million budget cuts, according to Hunter MP Joel Fitzgibbon.
Mr Fitzgibbon met with concerned employees at the Five Star Family Day Care in Metford on Thursday.
“[Prime Minister] Tony Abbott is cutting $157 million from family day care service funding, attacking services in some of our most vulnerable communities,” he said.
“I don’t understand how the government can so arbitrarily remove it without consideration from the sector.”
The budget changes mean the Five Star Family Day Care, a community-based organisation that helps 108 small business owners in the Hunter, would no longer be eligible to receive Community Support Funding.
Five Star supports 497 families and 559 children and stands to lose $330,000 in federal funding.
“It’s going to cost parents more for childcare,” Maitland Five Star Family Day Care assistant manager Jenelle Ycas said.
“On top of the other budget cuts the federal government is proposing, we’re losing $34.50 per child per week. Parents will need to pay an extra $34.50 per child per week.”
She said, with the increased costs, parents are considering whether to return to work or stay at home.
“Cuts like this will see services close and fees increase at a time when families are already feeling the brunt of the budget,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.
“At a time of growing childcare waiting lists, over 80 per cent of family day care services around Australia will lose funding.”
Mr Fitzgibbon said the best way to help mothers remain in the workforce was to give them access to affordable childcare.