Senate Committee recommends child care changes pass Parliament

A Senate inquiry into the Federal Government's $3 billion overhaul of child care has recommended the bill pass Parliament.

The Senate's Education Committee looked into the impact of a proposal to streamline rebates paid to parents into one means-tested subsidy.

It found the package would target government subsidies to those who need the most support and the majority of families would be better off.

But Labor and Greens senators released their own dissenting reports calling for amendments.

The bill proposes that families earning more than $65,000 a year will not receive any childcare subsidy unless both parents are working, studying, training or volunteering for at least eight hours a fortnight.

Those earning less than $65,000 will still have access to 12 hours of subsidised care a week whether they meet the activity test or not.

Greens senators want the test amended to ensure all children have access to 24 hours a week of subsidised care regardless of whether their parents meet the new standard.

Labor senators have also recommended amendments to ensure casual and seasonal workers are not disadvantaged by the activity test.

They have also called for amendments to ensure vulnerable and indigenous children are not worse off.

Lobby group The Parenthood said it was disappointed the Senate inquiry had not recommend changes to the activity test.

The Parenthood's executive director Jo Briskey said its research found one in 10 parents would not meet the requirement.

"If at any point parents do not meet the new activity test they will get nothing from the Government to help meet expensive child care costs," she said.

The country's largest childcare provider Goodstart Early Learning also wants minor amendments to the package to help low income families.

Chief executive officer Julia Davison urged the Government to move quickly now the Senate inquiry was completed.

"Families have been waiting patiently for the Government to deliver on its pre-election promise to make child care more accessible and more affordable," she said.

"Families are struggling with cost of living pressures now and they need certainty that their childcare costs will be reduced next year as promised."

Source: ABC News

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