http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-0...firmed/6438876Parents will be required to work minimum number of hours to receive child care payments, Scott Morrison confirms
Parents will be required to work a certain number of hours to receive child care payments as part of an overhaul of the system, Social Services Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed.The Government is yet to reveal details of the changes, but they could be announced as early as this weekend.
The overhaul is expected to include a single, means-tested rebate and a tougher activity test which requires parents to work a minimum number of hours before they can receive support.
At the moment, there is no minimum requirement.
Mr Morrison said the proposed changes are aimed at restoring integrity to the system and encouraging parents to work — not providing welfare.
"This is [fundamentally about] workforce participation. It's not a welfare payment, it's not a pension or an income support payment or anything like that," he said.
"The purpose of doing any of this in childcare principally is to help families be in work and stay in work."
Childcare subsidies cost the Government about $7 billion a year.
The Government's changes are informed by a Productivity Commission report that recommended scrapping the 50 per cent rebate parents receive for their childcare costs.
Instead, it called for a single means-tested payment to go to childcare providers.
"The integrity test around this, the entitlements around this, we're looking to make tougher to ensure that it does the job and we just don't splash cash," Mr Morrison said.
On radio station 3AW this morning, the Minister confirmed there would be a crackdown on parents who worked just a few hours a week and still received subsidised childcare.
Asked whether this meant "the more you worked, the more you got?", Mr Morrison replied: "Yes, that's exactly what it means".
Labor says activity test 'too tough'
The Government has been in talks with Labor hoping to get bipartisan support for the overhaul, but the Opposition has sharply criticised the proposal.
Labor's families spokeswoman Jenny Macklin said the so-called activity test would be too tough.
"There is a whole range of reasons why parents need access to childcare while they might have just a small amount of work or while they're looking for work ... and Scott Morrison just seems to have forgotten that families need a whole range of supports, not just what he seems to be offering," Ms Macklin said.
"The childcare changes are at the moment a complete mess.
"No family knows whether they'll be better off or not. No family knows whether they'll be locked out of childcare or not."
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten also called on the Government "to come clean about the future of childcare".
"How many families will be worse off because of the Abbott budget? How many children will lose funding and drop out of the system because of the Abbott budget?" he said.
"And indeed, how many stay-at-home mums will lose valuable support because of the Abbott Government?"
Mr Morrison said he would ensure "a safety net remains in place for families, particularly in disadvantaged areas and [those who] face other forms of disadvantage".
He said families on low to middle incomes would be "the biggest beneficiaries of the program".
Mr Morrison has promised to unveil the Government's child care package before the May budget.
My understanding is the current situation is a family is entitled to up to 24 hours of subsidised childcare for a nonworking parent and if the parent works over 15 hours they can have up to 60 hours per week. There is also a level of discretion where a family can receive more subsidised hours each week (I got this for my DS when he was in his kindy year - the year before he started school).
If these proposed changes pass there will be a lot of people out there who will have just lost there one and only support network, their 'village'. Going back a few years ago this would have been me. My DD was an incredibly challenging baby but when she was 1 she went to child care 1 day a week. This was such a huge relief for me to have one day a week where I didn't spend the day carrying and feeding a baby all day. There are a whole lot of parents out there who rely on childcare to cope. Effectively taking this option away is going to put huge stress on families.
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01-05-2015 20:17 #1
No more subsidised childcare for non-working parents?
01-05-2015 20:23 #2
There needs to be a more suitable alternative for non-working parents... New Zealand's playcentre model is excellent.
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01-05-2015 20:26 #3
Does this include kindy too or rather kindy rooms in long day child care centres? I'm a sahm and dd3 goes to kindy in the Daycare centre two days a week. She adores it and will be heartbroken if they take it off us. I can't afford to pay full fees and I still have dd4 at home.
01-05-2015 20:32 #4
01-05-2015 20:34 #5
This make me so angry. It goes against everything I believe in.
I wish for every children to have access to free quality childcare and kinder services.
01-05-2015 20:36 #6
Ok well now I want to cry. She's so happy there, it's the year before school as she just missed out going this year by two weeks. She needs the extra that she gets from this step up before school. She's blossoming there, is learning fast and is very popular. So how do I explain this to her?
Sure I could study, and I plan to next year as I'm keen to get back into it, but I also have a very active two year old at home. This sux
01-05-2015 20:36 #7
I don't know how I feel about this yet.
If I was a sahm, I would utilise a preschool, not daycare.
01-05-2015 20:38 #8
This is inequitable, unless there is a job available to every Australian that would like to work.
I'll start with that then think about it a little more.
01-05-2015 20:41 #9
I'm kind of in two minds about this, and admit to not really understanding all of the ins and outs... so happy to be informed by others and possibly have my mind changed.
On the 'pro' side for this - there is a serious shortage of childcare spaces in a LOT of areas. I've heard and read about so many mums who are on ridiculous waiting lists for childcare, and they can't return to work when their mat leave is up as they can't get childcare. So this scheme would be giving priority to working mums, which is great! Although surely there's got to be another way to ease the childcare shortage...?
Also is seems like it would make childcare much more affordable for low and middle income families, which would also be great. My DH had one of his best staff members quit because she worked out that after paying for 3 kids to be in full time daycare while she worked, she was literally taking home $50pw!
The cons though - It doesn't mention anything about studying parents? Surely there has to be some sort of exemption for them so that they can access childcare to attend uni/tafe??
Also, the kids of non-working parents would end up being the ones penalized by this, as they would be missing out on the valuable social interaction that daycare provides.
So yeah, I think it's got merit, but that there are better ways it could be done, and that they would need to put other support systems in place for non working parents and their children.
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01-05-2015 20:41 #10
There really needs to be more options.
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