The recent Federal Budget contains a Family Package that at its core appears to aim at increasing childcare subsidies to working families whilst reducing it for non-working families. The stated overall objective of the $3.5 billion childcare package is to encourage more parents back into paid employment via a more ‘accessible’ and ‘affordable’ childcare system.
We are pleased to see families receive any increase in Child Care subsidy. We also welcome a system that is easier for families and centres to manage as cumbersome administration process only add to a business bottom line. Under the package, a single Child Care Subsidy will replace the CCB and CCR from 1 July 2017.
Whilst welcoming an increase in the subsidy amount we are conscious this needs to be paid for and like many are cautious as to where this additional funding will come from. It appears that it is linked to Family Tax payments and hope it is not just a matter of taking from families to give to families.
In reading the new Activity testing we are pleased to see some thought around the inclusion of volunteer work and situations where children would benefit from the Education and Care provided for in High Quality Long Day Care settings such as the programs offered by Kool Kidz. It would introduce a single means tested Child Care Subsidy for all families, subject to a new activity test for up to 100 hours of subsidised care per child per fortnight, paid directly to approved care service providers.
It is important to note that:
- Up to 24 hours per fortnight will also be provided to children from families with incomes less than approximately $65,000 per year who do not meet the activity test to ensure continued access to early childhood learning.
- All childcare subsidies and support will remain linked to immunisation requirements which from 1 January will be strengthened under the Government’s ‘no jab, no pay’ policy. The only exemption to this policy will be on medical grounds.
Each of our Kool Kidz centre Owners is currently looking at the community of families that attend their services to explore any impacts these changes (if passed) may have. For more information please speak with your services friendly Owner.