CCS legislation update passes Senate – Full list of changes and implementation timetable

by Jason Roberts

December 06, 2019

A new Bill which aimed to simplify the legislation that governs the Child Care Subsidy (CCS) was introduced to Parliament by Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan in September 2019 and after its third reading, passed through the Senate this week.

 

The Bill, known as the Family Assistance Legislation Amendment (Building on the Child Care Package) Bill 2019, sought to address unintended consequences resulting from the implementation of the CCS in July 2018, make policy refinements and also address a number of clarifying and technical inconsistencies.

 

Commenting on the changes in the Bill, Mr Tehan noted “The amendments that passed the Senate today are a result of our Government listening to parents and child care providers and acting on their feedback” some of which was provided in a session at the Australian Childcare Alliance Victoria’s Annual conference in August 2019.

 

A summary of the key changes that have been made are as follows:

 

  • Extending the 8 week enrolment lapse rule to 14 weeks to avoid re-enrolment for children returning to care after 8 weeks – to be implemented 13 January 2020

 

  • ACCS (Child wellbeing) certificates will no longer be limited to 50 per cent of all children attending the service, with the “50 per cent rule” being scrapped – to be implemented 13 January 2020

 

  • It is now a requirement that providers ensure that all educators have a current “working with children check” relevant to their state or territory context, as well as their existing responsibility to inform the Minister of the details of working with children cards/checks –  to be implemented post receipt of Royal assent

 

  • Providers who make a mistake that leads to an overpayment of CCS to a family or are deemed to be responsible for an overpayment post a review are liable for the debt to the Commonwealth, not the family – to be implemented post receipt of Royal assent

 

  • In Home Care will going forward be included within the CCS legislation with subsidy available to parents and providers – to be implemented post receipt of Royal assent

 

For a full list of changes to be made including implementation dates please our previous review of the Legislation here or see a summary below: 

 

Key areas of change to the CCS

 

  • Refining absence provisions in particular to ensure that CCS is not paid in certain circumstances where absence recognition is ambiguous – To be implemented post receipt of Royal Assent

 

  • Allowing certain third party payments, usually from State or Territory Governments, to be excluded from the calculation of CCS entitlements to ensure receiving families are not financially disadvantaged – To be implemented post receipt of Royal Assent

 

  • Ensuring that a family will still receive CCS in circumstances where a provider is at fault from providing enrolment reports and/or attendances outside the stipulated time frames – To be implemented post receipt of Royal Assent

 

  • Ensuring that a families bank details and TFN are provided at the time a CCS claim is made and not within 28 days after the claim is made which is the current rule with the Secretary having authority to override within 28 days as required – To be implemented post receipt of Royal Assent 

 

  • Extending the 8 week enrolment lapse rule to 14 weeks to avoid re-enrolment for children returning to care after 8 weeks – To be implemented 13 January 2020

 

Key areas of change to the ACCS

 

  • ACCS (Grandparent) eligibility criteria is being broadened to include ABSTUDY payments – To be implemented post receipt of Royal Assent

 

  • ACCS (Child wellbeing) notice requirements to “appropriate State or Territory bodies” is being clarified to “appropriate State or Territory support agencies” – To be implemented post receipt of Royal Assent

 

  • ACCS (Child wellbeing) eligibility criteria requirements around certification is clarified to remove inconsistencies in the legislation – To be implemented post receipt of Royal Assent

 

  • ACCS (Child wellbeing) certificates will now not be limited to 50 per cent of all children attending the service with the “50 per cent rule” being scrapped – To be implemented 13 July 2020

 

Key areas of change related to In Home Care all of which will be implemented post receipt of Royal Assent:

 

  • In Home Care will going forward be included within the CCS legislation with subsidy available to parents and providers. 

 

  • In Home Care eligibility criteria is clarified with an understanding that recipients are likely to have complex and / or extensive additional needs.

 

  • In Home Care providers will also need to comply with ratios of educators to children to be eligible.

 

  • An hourly cap has been introduced for In Home Care.

 

Key areas of change with a focus on providers all of which will be implemented post receipt of Royal Assent:

 

  • Voluntary suspensions of a providers service approval will now be extended into the CCS to ensure consistency with the Law and CCS legislation.

 

  • The date of the effect of a providers service approval having previously been a Monday has now been changed to not be limited to a Monday and can be received any day.

 

  • It is now a requirement that providers ensure that all educators have a current “working with children check” as well as their existing responsibility to inform the Minister of details of working with children cards. 

 

  • Providers approvals can be suspended or cancelled if 10 infringement notices are received within a 12 month period. 

 

  • Providers who wish to request a review of a debt raised against it must submit an application within 52 weeks of incurring the debt.

 

  • Providers who make a mistake that leads to an overpayment of CCS to a family or are deemed to be responsible for an overpayment post a review are liable for the debt to the Commonwealth, not the family

 

To read the amendments as read a third time and passed by the Senate please click here

 

To read the original amendments Bill please click here.

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