Coalition fixing Labor’s CSP budget blowout

Media Release
  • Assistant Minister for Education

The Coalition is cleaning up another Labor financial mess – this time their failure to address major blowouts in the Community Support Programme (CSP) for child care services.

Assistant Minister for Education Sussan Ley said Budget documents showed the programme blew out $22.1 million in 2012-131 and a further $76.6 million2 in 2013-14 – Labor’s last two Budgets.

However, in an even bigger embarrassment for Labor, Ms Ley revealed a 2012 Auditor-General report3 highlighted the problem and recommended CSP eligibility guidelines be reviewed.

Ms Ley said the Coalition had taken the Auditor-General’s advice into consideration and would now bring the eligibility criteria for all new family day care (FDC) services applying for CSP in line with other types of child care such as long day care (LDC) and outside school hours care (OSHC).

“Labor was clearly aware of this problem and they didn’t act,” Ms Ley said.

“This is despite clear evidence the programme was no longer delivering its intended purpose, with family day care claiming 71 per cent of CSP funding but only looking after 10 per cent of children.

“Labor turned a blind eye to this issue to avoid rocking the boat in the lead up to the election. It’s another classic example of Labor’s legacy of debt and financial mismanagement.

“However, the Coalition has made a clear commitment to the Australian people that we will address Labor’s budget failings and we intend to keep  that promise.”

Ms Ley said the changes meant new family day care services applying for CSP would have to meet eligibility criteria requiring them to be the only provider of FDC in the surrounding area, with weighting towards services setting up in regional and remote or disadvantaged communities. Similar criteria already apply to LDC and OSHC.

Since 2006, family day care has been exempt from CSP eligibility criteria. The aim was to help the then-fledgling sector become a viable child care model across the nation.

“Since 2011 there has been an increase of only four new family day care services in regional and remote Australia versus a 74 per cent increase in the major cities,” Ms Ley said. (see table below)

“CSP clearly needs to be refocussed back to its original objective of supporting regional, remote and disadvantaged areas and this common-sense decision will deliver exactly that.              

“It’s also in line with our decision to specifically task the Productivity Commission to look at delivering better child care outcomes for regional, remote, rural and disadvantaged communities.”

These changes will come into effect April 1 and will not impact existing Family Day Care services.

Further details will be available on the Department of Education website www.education.gov.au.

NOTE: The Community Support Programme provides support directly to child care service providers. It is not a fee-assistance programme for parents such as the Child Care Rebate or Benefit.

The following table indicates the growth of FDC services in Australia in recent years:

 

 

FDC services

Sep-2011

Jun-2013

Major Cities of Australia

192

335

Inner Regional Australia

89

95

Outer Regional Australia

58

57

Remote and Very Remote Australia

13

12

Grand Total

352

499

References:

1. 2013-14 Federal Budget Part 2: Expense Measures http://www.budget.gov.au/2013-14/content/bp2/html/bp2_expense-09.htm
2. 2013-14 Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements http://docs.education.gov.au/system/files/doc/other/2013-14_education_paes_final.pdf
3. Australia National Audit Office – Improving Access to Child Care – the Community Support Program http://www.anao.gov.au/~/media/Files/Audit%20Reports/2012%202013/Audit%20Report%207/201213%20Audit%20Report%20No%207.pdf

 

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