The ACCC today welcomed the direction from the Australian Government outlining details of the ACCC inquiry into the supply of childcare services in Australia.
The inquiry will look at the costs of operating childcare, including employees’ wages and property costs; the level of competition in the childcare market; the level of demand and supply; and prices charged to consumers, including any impacts of government policy.
It will examine childcare offered in metropolitan, regional and remote areas of Australia, childcare offered by different sizes and types of operators, as well as different forms of childcare including centre-based care, outside school hours care and family day care.
“This is an important and welcome opportunity for the ACCC to explore, analyse and report on the factors that drive prices in the childcare sector. We look forward to consulting widely in this inquiry with a broad range of childcare providers as well as parents and carers,” ACCC Chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb said.
“Access to affordable childcare that meets the need of growing children and their families is critical for workforce participation and the Australian economy.”
“The Treasurer has asked us to commence our inquiry by 1 January 2023 and we are eager and have already started preparations to undertake this important work. We expect to shortly begin information gathering and engagement with the sector,” Ms Cass-Gottlieb said.
“We will conduct a range of consultation processes to ensure a diverse range of childcare operators and consumers across Australia can engage with and contribute to our inquiry. We will be publishing an indicative consultation schedule on our website.”
The ACCC will deliver its final report by 31 December 2023. An interim report will be delivered by 30 June 2023.
On 28 October 2022, the ACCC was directed by the Treasurer, The Hon Jim Chalmers MP to conduct an inquiry into the supply of childcare services in Australia.
The direction under Part VIIA of the Competition and Consumer Act will enable the ACCC to require information from relevant companies. The ACCC also obtains information voluntarily to inform its inquiries.
The Treasurer has directed the ACCC to consider:
- Costs and availability of labour
- The use of land and related costs
- Finance and administrative costs
- Regulatory compliance costs and
- The costs of consumables.
The ACCC will also examine how costs and prices differ by:
- The type of provider and size
- Type of childcare service
- Age and characteristics of the child in care
- Geographic location
- Level of competition and
- The quality rating of the childcare services provided.
How these factors impact childcare provider viability, quality and profits will also be examined.
The ACCC will also examine the prices charged since 2018 and how these have changed following changes in childcare policy settings.
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