One Family welcomed the opportunity to contribute to the Public Consultation on the Single Affordable Childcare Scheme last week. The Policy Paper on the Development of a New Single Affordable Childcare Scheme is a comprehensive document and we wish to acknowledge the extensive work undertaken by the Department of Children & Youth Affairs in compiling this paper. However, we wanted to highlight some areas of concern on behalf of people parenting alone and sharing parenting.
The key points from our submission are:
- One Family would recommend that both child maintenance and Family Income Supplement be included in the list of income that will be excluded from the income assessment.
- The requirement that only legally enforceable maintenance agreements should be deductable from household income is totally unworkable and does not reflect the lived reality of shared parenting arrangements. There are a number of families who have come to an amicable agreement regarding child maintenance payments, without the need to attend the family courts.
- Lone parents have been disproportionately impacted by the housing crisis, almost 70% of homeless families are one-parent families which clearly indicates that these families are struggling to meet their housing costs. Allowing housing costs, in full or part, to be deductible from assessable income, would give a more realistic picture of the disposable net income of parents applying for childcare subsidies.
- We would suggest that an urban weighting could be applied for families living in larger urban areas. For example, these families could receive 15% more in subsidies than those in smaller towns or rural areas.
- There is currently no childcare infrastructure in place for children aged between 12 and 15 years. Essentially this means that while parents with older children may qualify for subsidies under the scheme, in reality they will be unable to access suitable childcare places that would support them to enter education or work.
- Allow afterschool providers to be included in the new proposed scheme.
- We are concerned regarding the removal of capped weekly fees for parents which are currently available under the ASCC and CETS schemes. Affirmative steps need to be taken to prevent providers from increasing their fees and passing this on to low income families.
Our submission in full can be read here.