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Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

For your information, Nicola

While Childcare Assistance finalisation may be new to Nicola Roxon, it is not new to the child care sector, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Larry Anthony said today.

“In true Australian Labor Party fashion, Ms Roxon has shot from the hip without bothering with the facts, choosing instead to embark on a scare campaign.

“If she had taken the time to look back at publicly available newsletters that we have sent to child care services, she would see that this is an issue that we have been talking about for some time.

“For Ms Roxon’s benefit, she should know that;

Childcare Assistance was replaced in July 2000 with the more generous Child Care Benefit.

Child care services have always been advanced their payments quarterly by the Government to make sure they have enough funds up front to operate their centres.

They are then asked to reconcile their payments with actual use. An adjustment is then made at the end of the quarter.

“When the system changed in July 2000, we adopted a flexible approach to help services adjust to the new Child Care Benefit and to ensure service cash flows.

“In Victoria, child care services were sent letters by October 2000 notifying them how much they owed. Services in other states were also well aware that their overpayments would have to be repaid.

“It should be noted that most services who were not advanced enough Childcare Assistance have already been topped up. For services who were given over-advances, we have put in place very generous and flexible recovery arrangements.

“The record allocation of $6.7 billion for the next four years by the Coalition Government means quality child care is more affordable than ever. Our spending of $4.7 billion over the last four years, 37% more than Labor’s last four year, has resulted in record numbers of children now using childcare.

“This is good news for both families and child care services, but they are facts Ms Roxon is happy to overlook,” Mr Anthony said.