More than 9,500 families across Dickson are set for child care cost relief and their children will benefit from more early learning opportunities as part of the Turnbull Government’s reforms to the system that passed Parliament this week.
The Member for Dickson Peter Dutton said the new reforms would offer relief for families who are finding that fees and expenses put access to child care and early learning increasingly out of reach.
“These are the biggest reforms to child care and early learning in 40 years,” Mr Dutton said.
“We know the cost pressures that families face, so we’ve taken action to overhaul a broken system to deliver more affordable, accessible and flexible services for families and children.
“Our changes will inject $1.6 billion of additional investment into the system – with around one million families across the country to be better off – including the more than 9,500 families in Dickson that use child care and early learning services.
“We’re targeting support to people working the most and earning the least and it’s estimated our reforms will encourage more than 230,000 families to return to the workforce or increase their involvement in paid employment.
“Our approach stands in stark contrast to the Labor Party who don’t have a child care policy, tried to block our reforms every step of the way and stood against the additional investment in our reforms and the relief that will mean for families.”
The reforms come into effect from 1 July 2018 and there are three key features:
1. Better support for people working the most and earning the least: The changes simplify the current complicated rebate system by replacing payments with a single, means-tested Child Care Subsidy that boosts the current flat 50 per cent rebate rate to 85 per cent for hardworking families earning up to $65,710 and then tapers down to 20 per cent for families earning more than $250,000 and cuts out for families earning more than $350,000. Our reforms also introduce a three-step activity test with an entry point of four hours a week that gives families eligibility for 18 hours a week of subsidised child care. This will align hours of care with the combined amount of work, training, study, volunteering or other recognised activity being undertaken by parents.
2. Relief from the rebate cap: We will abolish the $7,500 rebate cap to ensure families on incomes of $185,710 or less aren’t limited by a cap on the amount of child care they can access and the cap will be increased to $10,000 for families earning more than $185,710, overall offering relief to the approximately 100,000 families that hit the current $7,500 rebate cap.
3. Downward pressure on incessant fee increases: Our reforms introduce an ‘hourly rate cap’ on the subsidies the Government will pay that will set a benchmark price so Australians have a reference point to hold providers accountable and from which they can expect prices shouldn’t dramatically exceed. We will also slash red tape so services can be more flexible in the hours they deliver instead of the current system where families who routinely need and use only four, six or eight hours of care, are charged for 10 or 12 hours.
“I look forward to discussing the reforms with families across Dickson and to seeing the benefits flow through to help household budgets, boost early learning opportunities and give families the opportunity to work or work more.”
In coming weeks the Government will begin communicating the changes to families and services and a calculator will be available for families to determine how the reforms will benefit them.
For further information on the reforms please visit: https://www.education.gov.au/jobsforfamilies