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Peak family daycare body tentative about government crackdown

Last year, he palmed off responsibility for sanitising the family daycare sector to states and territories. But now, education minster Simon Birmingham has brought his own wet wipes.

This week, he released new measures that aim to save the government $250 million in future scams.

But will they actually work?

Andrew Paterson, chief executive of Family Day Care Australia, thinks they will. He says the industry isn’t particularly susceptible to rorts, it’s just that a few bad apples can ruin the reputation of the bunch.

“It’s important to note that the overwhelming majority of family daycare services provide high quality early childhood education and care to over 120,000 families,” he said.

The government’s previous compliance crackdowns, including closing the loop on child-swapping – the practice where a parent claims a subsidy for their own child – have been largely successful. Department of Education data showed the anti-child-swapping provision is saving the government almost $8 million a week.

Though Paterson admitted the government’s new compliance measures will also help weed out the unscrupulous, he’s concerned they will also impact the honourable.

Family Day Care Australia is now consulting with the sector to determine the extent, if any, of these unintended consequences. It will report back to the minister with its findings.

Although family daycare comprises a small, 17 per cent segment of the childcare market, it is growing. The number of home-based centres increased by 61 per cent over the past two years. Childcare centres, by contrast, grew by just 7 per cent.

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