All families using child care across the country will be impacted by the changes to the Child Care Subsidy and must registered their details to be eligible for the new subsidy.
Question: What is the new Child Care Subsidy campaign?
Minister Simon Birmingham: The new Child Care Subsidy is the cornerstone of the New Child Care Package, which is one of the most significant changes to the child care system Australia has seen in the last 40 years. As part of the Turnbull Government's commitment to improving early learning and child care services for Australian families, an extra $2.5 billion has been committed to improving the outdated and frustratingly complicated existing system.
Question: How is the 2018/2019 Child Care Subsidy different to the existing subsidy?
Minister Simon Birmingham: Under the New Child Care Package, the current Child Care Rebate and Benefit will be replaced by a single, simplified Child Care Subsidy. From 2 July, three things will determine a family's level of Child Care Subsidy. The first is a family's combined annual income. The second is the amount of activity each parent undertakes, including how many hours they work, study, train or volunteer. Finally, the type of child care service a family uses will determine what Child Care Subsidy hourly rate cap will apply.
One of the major benefits the New Child Care Package will bring is the removal of the annual subsidy cap for the approximately 85% of families earning $186,958 or less a year. For families earning above this but below $351,248, the cap will be increased from the current $7,613 to $10,190 per child.
Question: How will this new subsidy affect low and middle-income earners?
Minister Simon Birmingham: The New Child Care Package has been designed to offer more support than ever before to low and middle-income families. Under the new arrangements, child care will be more affordable for the majority of Australian families, with most lower and middle-income families to be the greatest beneficiaries. As mentioned, the removal of the annual subsidy cap will relieve significant cost pressures for those who traditionally hit the cap months before the end of the financial year.
Question: What do parents that use or intend to use child care need to do, to be able to receive government assistance?
Minister Simon Birmingham: Parents who currently receive child care fee assistance will not automatically roll over to the new system on 2 July. To make the switch, they need to log onto their Centrelink online account through myGov and complete a Child Care Subsidy assessment. I urge all families to complete this process now to ensure a smooth transition to the new subsidy. For families who are planning on using child care in the near future, they will also need to complete a Child Care Subsidy claim through their Centrelink online account before their child starts attending care.
Question: What should families do if they have any questions about the Child Care Subsidy assessment process?
Minister Simon Birmingham: If families are unsure about what they need to do, I encourage them to visit education.gov.au/childcare. Here, they will find a number of resources and guides to help answer any questions they may have and to help them through the process of completing their Child Care Subsidy assessment.
Interview by Brooke Hunter