Child care system to support primary carer grandparents
The Federal Government will support grandparents on income support who are the primary carer of their grandchildren through access to subsidised child care under the new Child Care Safety Net.
Minister for Education and Training, Senator Simon Birmingham said the new Job for Families child care package – to be introduced to Parliament this week – would support an estimated 3,900 grandparents who care for 6,300 children.
Minister Birmingham said the Government would commit more than $20 million to exempt grandparents from the Child Care Subsidy activity test, meaning they are eligible to access up to 100 hours of approved child care fortnightly.
“Child care provides not only [provide] additional learning opportunities to children but also valuable respite to older Australians who have stepped in to become the primary carer in their retirement years.
“One of the greatest practical challenges for grandparents raising grandchildren are the costs associated with that care, which includes child care.”
Minister Birmingham said at this stage of their lives grandparents were unlikely to be working and as such would be unlikely to meet an activity test.
“Grandparents are however likely to need access to affordable, longer term and greater hours of child care for their grandchild and this measure specifically aims to provide this much-needed assistance,” Minister Birmingham said.
“This means that grandparents should not be left out of pocket in accessing child care.”
Minister Birmingham said the funding for those grandparents on income support who care for their grandchildren more than 65 per cent of the time is based on the actual hourly fee charged, up to the capped rate of 120 per cent of the new Child Care Subsidy and would begin from July 2017.
The Government will also support grandparent primary carers not on income support by providing an exemption to the activity test under the new Child Care Subsidy so that they can access subsidised care of 100 hours a fortnight based on family income.
The Government’s new Jobs for Families child care package provides more than $3 billion additional as part of an investment of almost $40 billion in child care and early learning support over the next four years.
“Families using child care in 2017, on family incomes of between approximately $65,000 and $170,000 will be around $30 a week or $1500 a year better off under the legislation to be introduced this week,” Minister Birmingham said.
There will also be changes in the arrangements for high-income earners with cuts in subsidies for families which start earning more than $250,000 a year. The subsidies would progressively reduce from 50 per cent of child care costs to 20 per cent of costs for families earning $340,000 a year.
For more information about the Jobs for Families child care package see www.education.gov.au
30 November 2015.