In Senate Estimates the Government confirmed they have accused 91,840 families of owing a child care subsidy debt to the Government, which is 16 per cent of all families who have been audited.
Labor has been telling the Government for some time that their child care system is too onerous, complex and lacks transparency for families. This has now been vindicated by evidence of the huge numbers of families owing debts to the Commonwealth.
With the combination of the new confusing income and activity tests, a problematic IT system, and the difficulty getting answers or explanations from Centrelink, families are scratching their heads as to why they have received large, unexpected debt notices.
The Government claimed their new system was designed with families at its heart. This is clearly not the case. Instead it is lumping families with debt that they cannot verify, leaving them distressed and frustrated with the system.
These numbers are likely to be the tip of the iceberg, with around 920,000 families accessing the child care system. This means as many as 147,202 families could unknowingly be accused of owing a debt to the Government.
The Government must accept their child care system is failing families and urgently consider what changes must be made.
It’s time the Morrison Government started supporting Australian families, rather than adding to their burden.