Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott. Vicki Wood

Union warns of 35% child care rise under Abbott

PARENTS could be up for a 25% rise in child care fees under a Coalition government, the industry union United Voice has claimed.

Union president Michael Crosby said the Opposition had refused to back a pay rise for childcare workers, during a meeting with the Opposition's childcare spokesperson Sussan Ley on Monday.

Mr Crosby said the Opposition had also refused to support an extension of the $300 million Early Years Quality Fund.

The Coalition has already released details of its paid parental leave scheme and plans to extend the child care rebate to nannies.

But Mr Crosby said an equal pay case currently before the Fair Work Commission was considering a pay rise for childcare workers.

Despite the case not being completed yet, he said the Coalition had already ruled out passing on any such pay rise, leaving parents with the bill.

"Parents will have to pick up that cost. Parents can expect fees to increase from 10% to 25% on current average fees of $74.80 per day," he said.

"Additional increases will be inevitable when the Early Years Quality Fund stops operating in 2015."

While the union was largely unhappy with the Coalition's policy, The Greens also released their $2.3 billion childcare policy on Tuesday.

The minor party promised more support for families in "high-need areas" and an extra $2.29 billion over four years to help reduce fees for parents.

A Coalition spokesman said an incoming Coalition government would direct the Productivity Commission to undertake an inquiry to investigate how child care could be more flexible, accessible and affordable.

"If the union wants to run a scare campaign about childcare costs, it should look at Labor's record," the spokesman said.

"Labor promised to end the double-drop off by building 260 child care centre,s but gave up after building only 38.
"In the last three years, according to CPI data, child care costs have increased by 27% and nearly 120,000

Australian parents say they can't access work opportunities because they can't find suitable or affordable child care."