About six months after Melanie Lane's eldest child was born, she wanted to return to work.
But the cost of child care meant that she did not stay back at work for long because, all things considered, it was not beneficial.
"By the time I paid for child care, I was only about $20 a day better off," Ms Lane said.
When this was weighed against the time she was spending away from her daughter and the impact it was having on her young child, she decided to again postpone her return to work.
Now Ms Lane has another child and says child care costs mean there is "no point" returning to work at this stage.
Recent figures from the Child Care in Australia report show the average cost of child care in Bendigo rose by 5.3 per cent in a year to reach $9.73 an hour last December.
While it was marginally cheaper in the Castlemaine, Heathcote and Kyneton area at $9.68 an hour, this represented a 9.5 per cent increase over a year.
Meanwhile, in the Macedon Ranges the average hourly child care cost rose to $9.71, an increase of 7 per cent.
Another local mother, Telisha Begg, also removed her daughter from child care a few years ago when the cost rose and became unaffordable.
Ms Begg said it became too expensive on top of the costs of living and studying.
She again wants to get back to work, but while her daughter is now in school, she needs care for her three-year-old son.
Read more: Child care costs outpace the cost of living
But she said she was so far unable to find anything in her price range.
She needed to work to be able to afford child care, Ms Begg said, but it was difficult to get a job without already having her son in care.
"For parents like me, trying really hard to get back into the workforce, we're stuck in a loop," she said.
She and Ms Lane are single parents, and say the system does not make it easy for people like themselves to get back into work.
For people on lower incomes, Ms Lane said, child care was financially not worth it.
She said the government wanted people on low incomes to get into work, but they needed to understand the difficulties given the cost of child care.
Ms Begg would like to see more government support of single parents when it comes to care, so they can better afford it and more easily get back into the workforce.
The federal government does offer a child care subsidy, but the rate depends on income, the type of child care, the age of the child, and the hours of activity (which includes work, leave, job-seeking and volunteering, among others) the parents do.
But both women say the available rebate only goes so far.
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