Bills Digest no. 128 2009–10
Legislation Amendment (Child Care) Bill 2010
This Digest was prepared for debate. It reflects the legislation as
introduced and does not canvass subsequent amendments. This Digest
does not have any official legal status. Other sources should be
consulted to determine the subsequent official status of the
Contact officer & copyright details
Family Assistance Legislation Amendment
(Child Care) Bill 2010
Date introduced: 24 February 2010
Portfolio: Early Childhood Education, Childcare and Youth
Commencement: The day of Royal Assent except for Schedules 3 &
6 which commence on the day after Royal Assent, Schedules 2 & 4
which commence on the 28th day after Royal Assent, and
Schedule 5 Part 1, Division 1 of which commences on 29 June 2007
while Division 2 commences on 16 May 2009.
relevant links to the Bill, Explanatory Memorandum and second
reading speech can be accessed via BillsNet, which is at http://www.aph.gov.au/bills/.
When Bills have been passed they can be found at ComLaw, which is
To introduce a number of
refinements and minor changes to the Family Assistance Law in the
areas of Child Care Benefit (CCB) payments to child care services,
statements concerning child care usage for parents and notification
requirements where child care services cease to operate.
The Commonwealth Government provides CCB to
users of child care services in the form of fee reductions in most
cases. To ensure that the delivery of CCB is properly regulated
child care services have, since 2009, been required to operate
using the Child Care Management System (CCMS). This system was
introduced after the passage through parliament of the Family
Assistance Legislation Amendment (Child Care Management System and
Other Measures) Act 2007. The digest for the Bill that
produced that Act provides extensive background to the introduction
of the CCMS.
The CCMS provides online internet access for
child care services to communicate information about the enrolment
and attendance of children in their services. This
information is provided to the Department of Education, Employment
and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) which calculates entitlements to
CCB and pays CCB to the services who pass it on as reduced fees to
the parents and carers of children using their services.
The measures in this Bill all relate to payments
to child care services, obligations of child care services and the
transition to the CCMS from the previous arrangements. The measures
- The introduction of Business Continuity Payments for services
whose ability to comply with reporting obligations under the CCMS
has been impaired by circumstances beyond their control, such as
local emergencies like bush fires or disruptions to internet
- The introduction of increased flexibility in the requirement
that child care services provide usage statements every four weeks
to parents and carers of children using their services.
- Changing the present mandatory suspension of a child care
services’ approval for the payment of CCB, where there have
been 10 infringement notices issued in a twelve month period, to a
- Increasing the notification period that applies where a child
care service operator intends to cease operating a service from 30
days to 42 days.
- Clarifying the legislative basis for the acquittal of quarterly
advance payments of CCB at the time of the transition of services
to operations under the CCMS.
Back to top
There is no financial impact from this bill.
Item 27 of Schedule 1 adds
new Division 4 to part 8A of the Family
Assistance (Administration) Act 1999. New section
219RD provides for the payment of business continuity
payments to child care services in subsection (1). These payments
are to be paid where a service has not submitted reports on child
care usage due to circumstances specified in a determination under
subsection (2), which specifies that the minister must, by
legislative instrument, make such a determination. That
determination would set out situations where the business
continuity payment would be made and set out the method for
determining the amounts of such payments. In general those
circumstances would be those in which the service is unable to make
reports due to factors that are outside of their control.
New Section 219RE sets out how the normal
payments to a child care service are to be adjusted to recover the
amount of the business continuity payment.
Item 4 of Schedule 2 repeals subsection 219E(4)
and substitutes new subsection 219E(4). This
subsection specifies that a statement of child care usage must be
provided to parent or carers of a child using child care at least
every 3 months. However it may be given for a period shorter than
three months. The period covered by the statement may be provided
for a period that is common to all users of the service.
This provision is different to the existing provision in that
the current subsection requires that statements should be issued
for 4 weekly periods, which are potentially different for each user
of child care.
This change is intended to provide more flexibility to services
when issuing statements.
Item 1 of Schedule 3 amends subsection
219TSQ(1) to make suspension of a child care services’
approval for payment of CCB, in cases where 10 infringements of
civil penalty provisions have occurred within a twelve month
period, discretionary rather than mandatory. This brings the
provision into line with other suspension provisions in the
Item 1 of Schedule 4 repeals subsection 219M(1)
and substitutes new subsection 219M(1). This
change increases the notification period where a child care
operator decides to cease operating a child care service from the
existing 30 days to 42 days. This change allows greater time for
the department to make arrangements for affected families to have
access to child care.
Items 2 and 3 of Schedule 5 insert new
sections 96A and 97B into the Family Assistance
Legislation Amendment (Child Care Management System and Other
Measures) Act 2007. These amendments clarify that
acquittal of quarterly advances of CCB to child care services as
part of the transition to the Child Care Management System had an
appropriate legislative basis for both recovery of amounts from
services and payment of additional amounts to services. The
amendment is therefore retrospective to 29 June 2007 when the
original provision took effect.
Item 1 of Schedule 6 adds new section
102 to the Family Assistance Legislation Amendment
(Child Care Management System and Other Measures) Act 2007. It
specifies that the payments to child care services mentioned above
come from the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
10 March 2010
Bills Digest Service
Members, Senators and Parliamentary staff can obtain further
information from the Parliamentary Library on (02) 6277 2410.
Back to top