News National Childcare rebate not enough for families in 2017, Education Department says

Childcare rebate not enough for families in 2017, Education Department says

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The Government's proposal is to create one means-tested payment called the Child Care Subsidy. Photo: AAP
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It has taken just two weeks for some 3600 families to hit the childcare rebate cap in the new year, according to Department of Education figures.

The data also showed 94,000 families were expected to hit the cap by the end of June, the end of the financial year.

The Government is using these figures to ramp up its calls for changes in the sector.

It wants to streamline multiple childcare subsidies into one, means-tested payment, with the highest amount going to the lowest-income families.

It also wants to remove the annual cap on the amount of childcare rebate paid to most families, which is currently set around $7500 per child for each financial year.

For families earning more than $185,000 the annual limit would be increased to $10,000.

The Government has argued those changes should be paid for by cuts to family tax benefits and it has included both moves in its omnibus savings bill.

But that bill looks unlikely to pass the Senate.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham said the new department data showed change was urgently needed.

“It beggars belief that the Labor Party, meant to be the party of supporting families, is of course depriving those hard-working families of more support to actually go out, get to work, without the fear of childcare costs gobbling up all that they earn,” he said.

Simon Birmingham says universities need certainty.
Mr Birmingham says the figures show there is an urgent need for change. Photo: AAP


The new data was in line with previous figures showing families were hitting the cap earlier and earlier each year.

Childcare provider Goodstart Early Learning estimated 114,000 families would hit the rebate cap this financial year.

It said the rebate lasted almost the entire year for a typical family in 2008, but would now last the same family only 30 weeks.

Senator Birmingham defended the Government’s failure to fix the problem sooner.

“The Government has been trying for some time to see our reforms implemented and we are seeking to do so and we’re ready and willing to negotiate,” he said.

“But Bill Shorten and the Labor Party have never come to the table.”

The Government’s changes to child care have been on the table since 2013.


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