New childcare reforms reap benefits for region
THE new childcare reforms officially came into action on Monday, with families and childcare centres in the region benefiting.
The Child Care Subsidy has replaced the Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate and will now be paid directly to services.
Overall, the Turnbull Government's reforms will make childcare more affordable for most families.
Goodstart Early Learning Roma centre director Tabatha Lippert said the changeover had been positive.
"As an organisation we're here to service families and how we have put our service out to optimise the best possible solution for families is we have changed our sessional timing,” she said.
"The maximum hours that full-time working families can receive is 100 hours a fortnight, so when you are a service that is open 6am-6pm it equals out to be 140 hours a fortnight.”
Ms Lippert said the new sessional times Goodstart had rolled out aimed to help those families who needed the 100-hour maximum.
"Realistically, we have had a positive turnover with our working families and they are able to afford more days with the sessional timing and are able to put more money back in their pocket with the subsidies available from the government,” she said.
Federal Member for Maranoa David Littleproud MP said about 3820 local families in the Maranoa would benefit from the new reforms.
"Childcare is important to help families balance work and caring responsibilities,” he said.
"We're increasing Australia's investment in early childhood education and care by $2.5 billion over the next four years. Our reforms will encourage more than 230,000 families to increase their involvement in workforce participation.
"On average, eligible families will be $1333 a year better off per child under the new reforms but families need to make the switch to the new system or they risk disrupting their payments.”
Charleville's Sam's Place licensee Kylie Ferguson said the response from their 57 enrolled families had been mixed.
"Some families will have a significant saving in their childcare fees and there are going to be a percentage of families worse off and they are those who have a low income and no activity,” Ms Ferguson said.
"It has been a really mixed response and there has been a lot of work the families have had to do as well as on our behalf to try and have conversations with families to ensure they are supported through this process and we have the correct information.”
Your eligibility for the Child Care Subsidy will be determined by:
Means test: Your family's combined income gives you the percentage of the childcare fees for which you will receive a subsidy
Activity test: The number of hours you work, volunteer, study or look for work determines the number of hours for which you can claim the subsidy
Type of childcare: The type of childcare service a family uses determines the applicable hourly rate cap. This varies depending on whether a family uses centre-based day care ($11.77 maximum), family day care ($10.90 maximum), outside school hours care ($10.29 maximum) or in-home care ($25.48 a family maximum).
The Department of Education gives these examples of how families are set to benefit:
A family on $50,000 - both parent/s working, with two children aged under six in long day care two days a week at $100 a day will be about $2000 better off a year
A family on $80,000 - both parent/s working, with two children aged under six in long day care three days a week at $100 a day will be more than $3000 better off a year
A family on $150,000 - both parent/s working, with two children aged six and under in long day care three days a week at $100 a day will be more than $1000 better off a year.