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Child Care Legislation Amendment Bill 1995



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House: House of Representatives

Portfolio: Human Services and Health

Commencement: Royal Assent.

+=5"> Purpose

The Bill provides for the Minister for Human Services and Health to issue Guidelines for assessing the work, training and study commitments of each parent in order to assess eligibility for child care assistance. The Bill amends the:

Child Care Act 1972;

Childcare Rebate Act 1993; and

Health Insurance Commission Act 1973.

+=5"> Background

It was announced in the Social Justice Statement 1995- 96 (page 18) that in meeting the Government's commitment to providing child care places for working families, child care assistance would be targeted to 'ensure that families with work- related child care needs get priority for child care places.'

Further, the Social Justice Statement 1995- 96 (page 18) said:

In the Budget, the Government has introduced new guidelines for access for families to ensure equitable access for families with both work- related and occasional care needs. From 1 April 1996, eligible families requiring occasional care will be able to access CA to reduce their fee for up to 12 hours of care per week per child in the long day care sector. ... These changes will not affect children at risk of abuse or neglect who are formally referred to a child care service.

The Explanatory Memorandum (page 1) states that amendments 'change the eligibility for Childcare Assistance for occasional care in long day child care services to 12 hours per week' and that from April 1996 the amendments provide for an 'independent administrative mechanism to assess families' work related status for the purpose of gaining priority of access to a Commonwealth funded long day care service.'

The amendments do not fully achieve this result, but it is assumed that these changes will be made by the Guidelines.

+=5"> Main Provisions

Item 2 of the Schedule which inserts new subsection 12A(1A) into the Child Care Act 1972 provides that in verifying the work related circumstances of a family, the recognised work, training or study commitments of each parent are to be assessed. Work, training and study commitments in the Child Care Act 1972 have the same meaning as in the Childcare Rebate Act 1993.

Item 5 inserts new subsection 31A(2) into the Childcare Rebate Act 1993 and provides that the Minister may issue Guidelines for assessing work, training and study commitments. These Guidelines are disallowable by either House of Parliament.

Item 9 inserts new section 8BAA into the Health Insurance Commission Act 1973. This section provides that the Commissions functions include:

verifying the membership and work related circumstances of families for determining priority of access to Commonwealth funded child care.

New subsection 8BAA(3) provides that the Commission can only exercise its functions under the section if a parental member agrees in writing.

Max Spry (06 2772477)

Bills Digest Service 20 June 1995

Parliamentary Research Service

This Digest does not have any legal status. Other sources should be consulted to

determine whether this Bill has been enacted and, if so, whether the subsequent Act reflects further amendments.

Commonwealth of Australia 1995

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