Crackdown on ‘child swapping’ saving taxpayers $7.7 million a week
- Minister for Education and Training
New measures introduced by the Turnbull Government to crackdown on child care operators’ non-compliance will save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars a year, in moves that will ensure child care is more affordable, more accessible and fairer for Australian families.
Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham today released new statistics showing in the 10 weeks since fixing a ‘child swapping’ loophole, the Turnbull Government is saving around $7.7 million a week.
According to new data from the Department of Education and Training, this $7.7 million a week was on top of the Turnbull Government’s unprecedented compliance action that has stopped $283 million going to ‘shonky’ Family Day Carers – together this amounts to nearly $700 million a year in savings for taxpayers.
"The Turnbull Government has corrected a loophole that allowed family day care service educators to receive a child care payment for their own children, while taking in and being paid for looking after other peoples’ children,” Minister Birmingham said.
“These family day care services were designed to support parents who wanted to care for their own children, in their own home whilst earning a small income – it was not envisaged that this opportunity would ultimately rip almost $8 million a week off of Australian parents and taxpayers.
"Prior to 12 October when the loophole was closed, the Commonwealth would outlay approximately $8.2 million a week to services in respect of child swapping, since the new measure the amount being paid has plummeted to just over half a million dollars a week and we’re working hard to ensure that figure continues to drop.
“We want to ensure every taxpayer dollar spent on child care supports families to balance their work obligations or children to access early learning, rather than being rorted by those more interested in lining their own pockets.
“The Turnbull Government is committed to ensuring that taxpayers’ massive child care investment of almost $40 billion, including more than $3 billion in additional funding over the next four years, is used to its greatest capacity and is benefitting as many Australian families and children as possible.”
Minister Birmingham said the new measures and the Turnbull Government’s crackdowns have uncovered hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of non-compliance, as well as sanctions and penalties for 51 family day care providers, $6.2 million worth of fines and $15.1 million in recovered incorrect child care payments.
“This tough stance is necessary to ensure our taxpayer dollars are directed to those operators doing the right thing and delivering high quality, flexible and affordable child care to families and not those ‘shonky’ providers offering sub-standard services.
“Perpetrators of fraud are on notice: you will be caught and there are severe consequences, including the possibility of jail time.
“Under Labor, in the two years to June 2013 there were no cancellations, no suspensions, and only two fines issued. Compliance checks actually fell from 763 to 523 – a paltry effort compared to the Turnbull Government’s 1,300 checks undertaken in 2013-14 and almost 2,900 last financial year,” said Minister Birmingham.