On 27 March 2017, the Australian Parliament passed the Jobs for Families Child Care Package. This legislation gives effect to the most significant reform to the early education and care system in decades and will better target those who want work or work more. It will give around one million Australian families relief from out-of-pocket child care cost pressures and provide more children with the opportunity to benefit from early education.
Over the next 15 months, the Australian Government will implement a new child care system which is more affordable, accessible and flexible. More children will have the opportunity to benefit from early childhood education.
Parents and carers will have more flexibility to stay in or return to the workforce. Payments will be streamlined, with the Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate replaced by a single means-tested Child Care Subsidy from July 2018.
The Child Care Safety Net will provide better targeted assistance to the most vulnerable and at-risk children and families.
Child care service providers will receive payments directly and requirements for hours of operation will be relaxed, providing more flexible care options to families. A new IT system and compliance obligations will support services to focus on providing quality care for families.
The Government is committed to ensuring that key stakeholders, particularly families and services, understand the changes and are confident in the new child care system. Over the coming months, the Government will be providing information and talking with stakeholders about the changes and what will happen during the transition to the new system.
More information on the child care system changes is available.