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Thursday, 24 June 2010
Page: 4336

Senator ARBIB (Minister for Employment Participation and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Government Service Delivery) (1:45 PM) —As I said earlier, under the previous government the childcare rebate was paid annually. This placed a massive burden on families because of the long time lag between when bills were incurred and when payments were received. On coming into office we promised to pay the childcare rebate quarterly, and we have delivered on that.

Looking ahead, we will continue to monitor the childcare rebate system and listen to parents about how best we can help them manage childcare costs. We remain committed to delivering flexible and timely payments to parents. Our goal has always been to move to fortnightly payment of the childcare rebate to assist working families to meet the cost of care for their children. However, the mechanisms for the payment of the childcare rebate are complex. A further increase in the timeliness of CCR payments needs to be done through changes in third-party software being used by individual childcare providers. In addition, it would require significant changes to Centrelink systems.

The government has a responsibility to assess all these factors and other priorities in child care. We remain committed to our goal of decreasing the time lag in childcare rebate payments to parents but we do not support this amendment.

Question agreed to.

Bill, as amended, agreed to.

Bill reported with an amendment; report adopted.