Tehan continues to crack down on FDC, following Budget CCS estimate decreases
Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan yesterday released a statement outlining his position on “ensuring the integrity of family day care (FDC)” through the cancellation of Child Care Subsidy (CCS) provider approvals through what he termed “21 dodgy day care operators”.
Mr Tehan’s comments make reference to the most recent update to the Child Care Enforcement Action Register, which covers the first quarter of 2018-2019. This update shows that one provider approval was immediately suspended in Victoria, with 13 provider cancellations in other states and territories.
It has been previously argued by the Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education and Development, Amanda Rishworth, that FDC providers are being “unfairly targeted” and are “under attack” in the compliance space, in order to meet a “budget saving program”.
Mr Tehan’s position, as outlined in the statement, was that the Federal Government “was taking action to ensure tax payers money was not being misused”.
“The Morrison Government will continue to take strong action against non-compliant or dodgy providers,” Mr Tehan said, outlining that the new childcare package “has more checks and balances” to ensure that “hardworking Australian families continue to access quality, affordable and accessible childcare.”
Many, both within and outside the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector have been critical about the reforms to the CCS space, citing concerns about ethics of access, affordability, and the removal of budget-based funding affecting rural and remote services, and those working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families.
Mr Tehan’s statements come the day before the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison issued writs for a federal election to be held on 18 May. ECEC is a big campaign issue for the election – with the Australian Labor Party pledging to deliver a two-year National Preschool and Kindy program in addition to measures to increase the ECEC workforce and help with the retention of staff. The current Australian Government has committed to fund the existing Universal Access preschool program until the end of 2020 for four year olds only, and a reduction in funding estimates allocated to the CCS.
On the reduction of CCS funding forecasts, The Sector Founder Jason Roberts speculated “It is unclear at this juncture what has been driving these…reductions although it is possibly connected to the contraction in FDC service provision reducing enrolments, moderating operator fee increases and/or plateauing of overall ECEC attendance levels.”
The Child Care Enforcement Action Register is available here.