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Tuesday, 2 February 2010
Page: 150

Mrs Mirabella asked the Minister for Early Childhood Education, Childcare and Youth, in writing, on 19 October 2009:

In respect of allegations that some parents have been claiming thousands of dollars on the child care rebate for long day child care services despite not having paid their fees, and when services are withdrawn, continuing this practice at another child care centre-(1) What is the Government doing to ensure parents cannot fraudulently claim the 50 per cent child care rebate.

(2) Is it a fact that proof of payment of child care fees is not required by the Government in order for the 50 per cent child care rebate to be claimed; if so, why. (3) Is it a fact that a parent/guardian need only incur a liability, as opposed to proof of payment, with a child care centre to qualify for the 50 per cent rebate from the Government; if so, why. (4) What investigations will she undertake to prevent such fraud; if no investigations will be undertaken, why not. (5) For 2008-09, what sum of money does she estimate such fraudulent practices costed the taxpayer.

Ms Kate Ellis (Minister for Early Childhood Education, Childcare and Youth and Minister for Sport) —The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

Questions 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5: As per the system established under the previous Government a fundamental tenet of Family Assistance legislation is that families are required to incur a liability for the cost of using child care. Payment of the Child Care Rebate is based on child care attendance information, as reported by the child care providers. Child Care Rebate is not paid when there is no child care usage.

These arrangements are in place so that the vast majority of families, who pay their fees on time, are not disadvantaged and receive their correct entitlements in a timely manner. Many families use this assistance to pay any outstanding fees to their child care service provider.