This audit report looks at the current access to high‐quality and affordable child care within Australia and the important factor it plays in a parent’s decision to remain in or return to the workforce. There are a variety of factors which affect access to child care. These include the geographic proximity of services to parents’ work or home, the availability of places at existing services, the availability of alternate care types and the cost of accessing care. During the quarter ending June 2011, 964 000 children attended formal2 child care in Australia, representing more than 25 per cent of Australians aged 0–12. These children attended a total of 14 441 approved child care services, of which there are several different service types. As at June 2011, approximately 60 per cent of children in child care attended Long Day Care (LDC), approximately 30 per cent attended Outside of School Hours Care (OSHC), and approximately 10 per cent attended Family Day Care (FDC).3 In addition, in June 2011, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) estimated that parents of 148 600 children had an unmet need for formal child care.

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