Parents foot bill for delays in kindy fee reductions

THOUSANDS of parents are forking out more for child care because of delays rolling out new laws designed to reduce kindergarten costs.

The Morrison Government rushed through laws last December that tweaked how child care subsidies (CCS) were applied, potentially saving parents thousands of dollars a year.

But despite having more than two months to enact the new rules and preschoolers returning to classes last week, the old fee structure remains in place.

Goodstart Early Learning head of advocacy John Cherry said many of the families paying the extra fees were "doing life tough".

Opposition early childhood education spokeswoman Amanda Rishworth has slammed the Government’s failure to implement new rules to reduce kindergarten fees.
Opposition early childhood education spokeswoman Amanda Rishworth has slammed the Government’s failure to implement new rules to reduce kindergarten fees.

"This is an important change to the CCS that will make kindergarten more affordable for around 8000 children from low income families and should be enacted as soon as possible, particularly as the preschool year has already commenced," he said.

The rule changes would apply the 85 per cent CCS for low-income families to the full daily bill with other state-based subsidies then used to pay the remaining out-of-pocket expenses.

Currently, the state-based subsidies such as the Queensland Government's kindergarten funding scheme are paid before the CCS is applied.

The changes would mean parents' out-of-pocket expenses on a $100 daily bill would drop from $12.85 to 67 cents, saving them thousands of dollars across the school year.

Opposition early childhood education spokeswoman Amanda Rishworth said the Government was a "shambles" after saying it had been critical to pass the laws so the new arrangements could be in place for the start of the new kindy year.

"The Government had two months to get the rule in place and failed," she said.

"Now providers are having to effectively break the law so that families don't miss out on the payments and have to pay higher fees."

"The minister needs to explain why he missed his own deadline, which has led to more uncertainty and delay for providers and families."

An Education Department spokesman could not say when the new rule would come into effect.

"A new minister's rule is being developed to give effect to this amendment," he said. "Consultation is underway with states and territories and the child care sector to inform the rule."


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