On 26 June 2014 the Senate referred the provisions of the Family
Assistance Legislation Amendment (Child Care Measures) Bill (No. 2) 2014 (the
bill) to the Senate Education and Employment Legislation Committee (committee)
for inquiry and report by 28 August 2014.
Conduct of inquiry
Details of the inquiry were made available on the committee's website.
The committee also contacted a number of organisations inviting submissions to
the inquiry. Submissions were received from nine organisations, as detailed in
A public hearing was held in Canberra on 25 August 2014. The witness
list for the hearing is available in Appendix 2.
The bill proposes to amend the A New Tax System (Family Assistance)
Act 1999 (Cth) (New Tax Act) to give effect to the government's budget
measure that would deliver net savings of $230.4 million over four years.
The bill would achieve this goal by extending the Child Care Benefit (CCB)
income thresholds for those using approved childcare services, for a further three
The bill follows the Family Assistance Legislation Amendment (Child Care
Measures) Bill 2014 (the former bill) that proposed changes to both the Child
Care Rebate (CCR) and the CCB. The committee inquired into the former bill and
tabled its report on 16 June 2014.
Submissions were received from 16 organisations in this former bill inquiry, as
detailed in Appendix 3.
On 23 June 2014 the Senate amended the former bill to exclude those
provisions which sought to extend the CCB income thresholds for a further three
and the House of Representatives agreed to this amendment.
On 26 June 2014 the bill was introduced in the House of Representatives,
effectively, 'reintroducing the child care benefit measure contained in the
The proposed changes to the CCB income thresholds are a part of a
broader 2014–15 Budget measure to maintain eligibility thresholds for major
government payments for three years from 1 July 2014.
Overview of the Bill
The bill would maintain the current CCB income test thresholds for
approved childcare services at their current level for three years from 1 July
Currently the CCB income test thresholds are indexed at the beginning of
each financial year and adjusted pursuant to the movement in the Consumer Price
Index (CPI) over the year to the preceding December quarter.
Presently under the New Tax Act and relevant instruments, CCB is payable
for approved care to eligible parents/carers for between 24–50 hours of care
per child per week providing the following requirements are satisfied:
parents/carers are responsible for paying the relevant child care
the child receiving the care is immunised or is exempt from the
parents/carers meet the residency requirements; and
parents/carers meet the income test.
Under the current income test, the maximum CCB rate is payable for
parents/carers with an annual adjusted taxable income under $42 997.
The current maximum CCB rate for approved care for a non-school aged child is
$4.10 per hour, or $205 for a 50 hour week.
Currently CCB is not payable to parents/carers with income above the
income limit. The current income limit for one child in care is $149 597; for
two children in care it is $155 013; and for three or more children in care it
is $175 041 plus $33 106 for each child after the third.
Human Rights Implications
The explanatory memorandum details the bill's engagement of the
following human rights instruments:
the rights of the child, under Article 3 of the Convention of
the Rights of the Child (CRC); and
the right to social security, under Article 9 of the International
Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and
Article 26 of the CRC.
The explanatory memorandum states that the bill is compatible with human
To the extent that the Bill engages the rights of the child
and to the extent it engages and places any limitation on the right to social
security, such limitation is reasonable, necessary and proportionate to
achieving a legitimate aim.
The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights (Human Rights committee)
examined the bill in its Ninth report, tabled in the Senate on 15 July 2014.
The Human Rights committee expressed concerns that the statement of
compatibility included in the explanatory memorandum:
addressed the bill's 'impact on the amount of the benefit rather
than its impact on the entitlement to the benefit based on family income'
in the context of the right to social security under ICESCR and CRC and the
right to an adequate standard of living;
did not provide an assessment of the impact of the measures on
the right to work under Article 2(1) of ICESCR and the Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
The Human Rights committee sought clarification from the Minister for
Education as to whether:
pausing the indexation of the income thresholds for entitlement
to CCB is compatible with the right to social security and the right to an
adequate standard of living;
the bill is compatible with the right to work.
The Minister is yet to provide a response.
Financial Impact Statement
The explanatory memorandum submits that the bill would have a financial
impact, resulting in net savings of $230.4 million over four years.
The committee thanks those individuals and organisations who contributed
to the inquiry by preparing written submissions and giving evidence at the
Notes on References
In this report the committee references submissions made to the inquiry
into the Family Assistance Legislation Amendment (Child Care Measures) Bill
(No. 2) 2014, as detailed in Appendix 1; as well as submissions made to the
inquiry into the Family Assistance Legislation Amendment (Child Care Measures)
Bill 2014 (former bill), as detailed in Appendix 3.
References in this report to the Hansard for the public hearing are to
the Proof Hansard. Please note that page number may vary between the Proof
Hansard and the official transcripts.
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