New research has found some parents are now paying more to send their children to pre-school and child care than to a private school.

For two parents on an average income, annual out-of-pocket costs now exceed the median private school fee by almost $500 a year.

Government investment has doubled over the past decade, but so too has demand, with almost one million families now claiming the child care rebate.

For many it's not enough, with some parents saying they simply can't afford more than one child.

National education reporter Conor Duffy reports.

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