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Budget: ECA and FDCA response

Early Childhood Australia and Family Day Care Australia have both issued responses to the childcare reforms announced in the federal Budget.

Treasurer Joe Hockey announced a $4.4 billion package to streamline childcare rebates into a single subsidy. If passed, families with an income of up to $65,000 will be able to claim 85 per cent of their childcare fees in government rebates.

But these changes are overshadowed by cuts to paid parental leave. The government is proposing to prevent families who receive paid parental leave from their employer access government paid parental leave as well.

Both ECA and FDCA say more consultation with the sector is needed.

“There needs to be quite broad consultation with the sector at this point,” said ECA chief executive Samantha Page. “There are some concerns we have around the activity tests and how that would be applied and what that will mean for children’s access. There’s quite a bit of detail to work through.”

Meanwhile, Scott Rollason, national policy and advocacy manager at FDCA, expanded on Page’s concerns and said family day cares still face cuts from last year’s budget.

“In the next two years, we face some serious cuts under the community support program,” Rollason said. “In last year’s budget, they announced a savings of $157 million over three years, which will [cause about] 80 per cent of services to lose community support program funding.”

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