There is a recognised glitch in the Child Care Subsidy System (CCSS) in relation to the activity test preschool exemption (ie. 36 hours of subsidised care per fortnight for children attending a preschool program in centre-based care, for those families that pass the income test).
Some service providers are not receiving subsidy on behalf of parents of children eligible for the preschool exemption.
It is our understanding that this glitch is being addressed by software providers, with an outcome expected next week.
Through the Australian Childcare Alliance (ACA) NSW's National Committee, we hves been advised that as an interim solution, Centrelink will be paying any additional CCS directly to families who may have been impacted by this error. However service providers will not receive any notification about this, so they will not know if this has been paid to the family.
ACA NSW does not believe this is a satisfactory solution, given there is no visibility of the payment for the service provider.
In addition we are following up feedback that families who have accessed a 'preschool program' one year, and (for whatever reason) are accessing it again this year (eg the child wasn't ready to start school) are being denied subsidy. This goes against previous information from government, and we await urgent clarification on this matter.
We will continue to advocate on this issue and keep members informed.
By way of reference, if you want to escalate this issue yourself, you can contact the following:
- Federal Minister responsible for Centrelink is the Hon Michael Keenan MP. You can also contact his office via (02) 6277 7200 or his parliamentary contact form;
- Federal Minister for Education is Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham. You can contact his office via (02) 6277 7350 or his parliamentary contact form.