Child Care Bill change a boon for parents seeking holiday care
Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie has welcomed Government moves to tweak its year-old child care reform package to make life easier for parents who only access care during school holidays.
The Family Assistance Legislation Amendment (Building on the Child Care Package) Bill 2019 was introduced into Federal Parliament today and seeks to adjust aspects of the package using feedback from parents and the child care sector.
One of the adjustments involves extending the timeframe for the cancellation of a child’s enrolment at child care or an after school hours care facility from eight weeks to 14 weeks.
“This is welcome news for parents who only use facilities in school holidays and for the past year have had to go through the rigmarole of having to re-enrol their kids at the end of term,” Rebekha said.
“I was approached about this issue earlier this year by the Woodside Primary School Out of School Hours Care (OSHC) who presented me with a petition signed by 20 parents calling for change.
“They told me extending the timeframe would ease the stress of having to enrol a fortnight before each holiday break and having to go through the ‘stress and wasted time’ involved in dealing with slow department bureaucracy.
“I was more than happy to write to Education Minister Dan Tehan about the problem and submit formal Questions in Writing to his office.
“Earlier this week we met with his office and I was delighted to learn the Act was going to be amended to provide a common-sense solution.
“It was also pleasing that the Minister gave a ‘shout out’ to the Woodside Primary School OSHC during his speech today when he introduced the Bill.
“As the Minister stated, I’m sure the parents at the centre will be happy to see the change.”
Woodside OSHC Director Dr Nigel Jamieson welcomed the proposed changes and congratulated Rebekha on her proactive stance.
"As soon as the issue was brought to Rebekha's attention she was 'on to it', following up with suggestions on what would work better for families and reduce the unnecessary red tape that services have to furnish,” Dr Jamieson said.
“Even though it was just before the last election, Rebekha did not let the issue slip and has been in contact with me throughout the process seeking clarification on the issue and ways to ease the administrative burden.
"Once this legislation is passed, families will be particularly pleased that another piece of unnecessary red tape will have been eliminated. They will be thrilled.
“Just this week I had to re-enrol 10 children for the upcoming vacation period so to streamline this process now is welcome news indeed."
The Bill has to pass through both Houses of Parliament.
The legislation also seeks to amend the package to remove the limit on the number of children child care providers can certify as being of serious risk of abuse or neglect and it removes some funding barriers for vulnerable and disadvantaged families.