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Australian Childcare Alliance
Australia’s peak body for private long day early learning services, the Australian Childcare Alliance (ACA) extends its congratulations to Prime...
If you are a member of Australian Childcare Alliance Queensland (ACA Qld) you would have received our Member Survey recently.
We have recently received some queries from members about their legal rights when representatives from the Union seek entry to...
The Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) conducts analysis every three years on how Australian children have developed by the time...

News

Cancellation of attendance records in previous financial years can cause a range of issues for both child care providers and individuals, including incurring debts. From July 2017, to ensure that only genuine amendments were made to the Child Care Management System, providers were prevented from submitting and cancelling attendance records relating to previous financial years.

This restriction remains in effect under the new arrangements, however in recognition of the transition to the Child Care Subsidy System, providers will be able to make amendments to session reports from last financial year until 30 September 2018.

After the 30 September 2018, providers need to apply to the department to make changes, with approval only given in exceptional circumstances. Follow these tips to assist you with this process.

Process
Where you must submit/cancel attendance records in the previous year in exceptional circumstances, you need to apply to the department to access the system. If approved, the service will have brief access to make the necessary amendments.

The application form is available by emailing the CCS Helpdesk at ccshelpdesk@education.gov.au.

Before applying for access to the system to submit/amend attendance data in a previous financial year, check you meet exceptional circumstances, which may include:

  • To correct an incorrect attendance record
  • To backdate JET where appropriate
  • To correct any fee errors.

There are some circumstances where an application to submit/amend data in a previous financial year will not be approved, which may include:

  • To resubmit data after formalising an enrolment - once an enrolment is formalised, all attendance data previously submitted will automatically flow through to Centrelink
  • To backdate family eligibility – this will be adjusted directly with the family and Centrelink through reconciliation if they are eligible. 


Monitoring
Please be aware that the department takes the integrity of child care fee assistance seriously and will be closely monitoring all cancellations and resubmissions to ensure these are compliant with the Family Assistance Law. The department has strengthened regulatory powers to safeguard the integrity of child care fee assistance, and will take action against non-compliance when necessary.

After 30 September 2018, the department will not accept claims that a provider did not know or understand their obligations or responsibilities.

Australian Childcare Alliance (ACA) is aware that there are still some families experiencing significant Child Care Subsidy (CCS) issues in relation to Additional Child Care Subsidy ACCS (Child Wellbeing).

Additional Child Care Subsidy provides additional fee assistance to support vulnerable or disadvantaged families and children. This support recognises the preventative and protective influence of quality early learning on a child's health, wellbeing and development, and the importance of continuity of care.

There are four different payments under the Additional Child Care Subsidy including the Additional Child Care Subsidy (child wellbeing) which aims to help children who are at risk of serious abuse or neglect. It provides additional child care fee assistance to an individual (or provider) in respect of children at risk of serious abuse or neglect. It helps to address cost barriers families may experience, so that children can either enter or remain engaged with child care.

We would like to support vulnerable children and families by assisting ACA Qld members. If you have families negatively affected by not being able to achieve a positive determination, please provide specific details as soon as possible including the child and/or their guardian’s customer reference number for us to use as case studies with the Government. Please note that we require authority to share this information.

Please contact ACA Qld GM Brent Stokes at gm.qld@childcarealliance.org.au.

Do you have families in your service not receiving their entitlement under the preschool exemption?

Centre-based services must indicate in session reports when a session of care for a child was, or included, an early educational program. The ‘preschool indicator’ in session reports is a ‘Yes/No’ field. A ‘Yes’ response will trigger the Child Care Subsidy System to determine whether the child is preschool-aged and calculate the parent’s entitlement.

For more information, refer to the preschool exemption factsheet.

Complete the survey now!

For those of you who haven't yet completed the survey exploring the topic of oversupply of early learning services in Australia, WE STILL NEED YOUR HELP!

Complete the survey now for a chance to win 1 of 3 $100 Coles Myer gift vouchers (for Queensland respondents only).

The resulting data will be used to engage with relevant government departments and planning authorities, to work towards addressing the growing issue of oversupply in some areas.

Do not miss the opportunity for your service to be included. If we don’t have your information, we may not be able to discuss your region.
 
All survey responses are confidential to the market research firm (Urban Economics) collecting the data. None of the partner organisations will have access to individual survey responses. It should take around 5-10 minutes of your time.

Please note: When completing the survey, you will need to have your centre occupancy data close at hand. For those owning or managing multiple centres, we would kindly request that you complete the survey individually for each centre. 

If you have any questions about the survey and its process, please do not hesitate to contact Kerrianne from Urban Economics on 07 3839 1400 or kerrianne@urbaneconomics.com.au.

Session reports must still be submitted within 14 days after the end of the week when care was provided – this has not changed under the new child care package.

If a provider realises a session report was incorrect, or changed since it was submitted, the provider must vary the session report up until 28 days after the start of the week to which the report relates.

Alternately, if a session report should not have been submitted at all (for example, because no care was provided to a child in that week), the provider must withdraw the report. A withdrawn session report should not be resubmitted. If a report is still required but the original is not correct, the provider must vary the report up until 28 days after the start of the week to which the report relates.

If a report is varied or withdrawn after the 28 day limit, it is not automatically processed and is held for manual checking by the department. In some cases, this may lead to delays to payments to the provider.

To avoid any payment delays, please ensure that any essential changes to session reports are lodged within the 28 day limit and only submit by exception after that timeframe.

ACA Qld investigated the early learning sector within Queensland, analysing the supply (perceived existing oversupply) of early learning centres and the impacts of this oversupply on reported lower occupancy levels. This analysis explored the risks and opportunities associated within the sector.

Over 200 proposed, approved and under-construction projects have been identified across Queensland, with an ultimate capacity of approximately 24,000 additional places. If all of the proposed places proceed, approximately 70% of the projected demand over a 20-year period could be provided within this development pipeline. 

In a typical market scenario, the price of a service such as early learning would respond to both the level of demand and supply and specifically, price would be expected to decrease with additional supply. Early learning in Australia, however, includes a high level of fixed costs (predominantly wages). As such, prices are relatively inelastic, and typically do not decrease with increased supply and competition; dispelling the theory that increased supply will simply increase affordability for families. In fact, it is a more tenable proposition that a centre which is substantially under-performing due to an oversupply situation would cease operation; removing choice and accessibility for the communities in which they are located and ultimately significant disruption to the educators employed, families and most importantly children enrolled.

Governments should look past the fact that a development fits noise and traffic regulations and see if it fits community need with factual demonstrable population growth modelling on young families who will use these services, and other existing services already in place that will be affected. These are seldom, if ever, considered in an actual DA application.

ACA Qld developed the ‘Early Learning Centre - Insights into Supply & Demand’ using data from CoreLogic / Cordell to show the number of centres currently in the pipeline for Quarter 2 2018 in Brisbane, Gold Coast, Ipswich, North Queensland, Sunshine Coast and Toowoomba.

You can use this valuable resource when you engage your local MP and when talking to the media about this very important issue.

ACA will continue to work with all sides and levels of Government to ensure greater intervention in the planning to ensure services are in areas of need.

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