Saturday, 23 March 2019
Reports today reveal the Government is forcing child care providers to act as unpaid debt collectors on parents in the latest stuff up in the government’s new child care system.
The Abbott Turnbull Morrison Government’s unfair Child Care Subsidy (CCS) was introduced in July 2018 with a multitude of problems.
In addition to leaving 1 in 4 families worse off, reports today have revealed that families have received payments intended for providers, leaving many with huge debts.
Under the government’s complicated new system, when families change their details in MyGov, such as updating their income or activity, this is changing their CCS payment amount. Providers are unaware of this payment change and are therefore billing parents incorrectly, creating a debt. As a result, Centrelink is then issuing a debt to the providers, expecting them to seize this from families.
There are even instances where centres are still having CCS withdrawn from their accounts by the government after accounts are closed and reconciled after families leave providers.
Instead of focusing on children and providing early education, child care centres are now having to worry about chasing debts, pitting them against parents who often have no idea that Centrelink as overpaid them.
For those families accessing the Additional Child Care Subsidy, there is considerable red tape and paperwork involved to access this payment. Many providers will allow children to access care while the paperwork is processed in good faith and let accounts go into arrears – this is to ensure the children are still receiving support and care during this time.
Centrelink is then back-paying this payment directly to the families in a lump sum payment hoping they are passing this on to providers.
These families include some of our most vulnerable, at risk children, whose parents often cannot cope with the additional stress of Government imposed debt.
Compounding the problem, Minister Tehan is refusing to acknowledge the problem, meaning Centrelink isn’t lifting a finger to fix their mistake, families debts are piling up and providers are going without funds.
Parents rightly expect that the Government provides a fair system that works for both families and child care centre operators.
The child care subsidy debacle is another example of the Government’s incompetence in running online systems – the hall of fame now includes Michael McCormack’s Census Fail, the Centrelink robodebt, and now the provider debt collectors.
This is just another failure of Scott Morrison and his dysfunctional government.