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Australian Childcare Alliance
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Gap payments in early learning service (centre based / long day care)

Approved early learning services must accurately report the actual fee liability owed by a parent/guardian per session of care. Where a service provides a discount on an early learning fee, the family is no longer liable to pay 100% of the usual fee for that session — the family's liability is, therefore, the total fee minus the discounted amount. If 100% of the usual total fee is reported, the service will have failed to comply with its reporting obligations under the law, and sanctions and penalties may apply.

Make sure you refer to the "What must a session report contain?" in your Child Care Provider Handbook, that states:

"The actual fee charged must reflect the amount the parent was liable to pay for the session of care.

Where the parent directly benefits from another subsidy or discount that reduces their fee liability in relation to the session (that the provider knows of), the amount in this field must reflect the remaining amount after the other subsidy or discount has been applied.

Likewise, if the parent is not liable to pay the whole fee charged for the session (because a third party has accepted liability to pay some of the fee), this field must only reflect the portion that the parent is liable for."

The Government encourages reporting of child care subsidy fraud by reporting any individual, services or coordination units that are not operating in a law−abiding way. The Government has established a tip-off line managed by the Department of Education and Training which can be contacted on 1800 664 231 or by email at tipoffline@education.gov.au.

The Australian Government has brought in amendments to the Family Assistance Law which come into effect in July 2018, and also addresses these issues and places new obligations on providers.

If members would like to discuss this in further detail, please contact ACA Qld on 07 3808 2366.