FEDERAL Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce said the Abbott Government is establishing a new $246 million pilot programme to extend subsidy support to nanny home care services to help support families who struggle to access affordable child care services when working, studying or looking for work.
Mr Joyce said subsidised care will be provided to about 10,000 children through this pilot programme across Australia, especially in middle to low income families.
“This two year Interim Home Based Carer Subsidy Programme represents the first major tranche of the government’s new child care package which will ensure our child care system is more accessible, flexible and affordable and better meets the needs of modern families to be in work,” Mr Joyce said.
“The Abbott Government understands many families in work and wanting to work find it difficult to access mainstream child care services. Key workers in the New England Electorate such as nurses, police and ambulance officers, firefighters, and other shift workers, are too often unable to access child care or take advantage of government support due to the nature and hours of their work.
“The same often applies for families in rural and regional areas and those who have children with special needs, for whom mainstream child care services are often inaccessible, lack the necessary flexibility, or do not cater for their specific needs.
“The two year pilot programme, beginning in January 2016, will determine whether a sustainable programme can affordably be put in place for in-home care nanny services, including integrity measures.
“The government will be working with employee organisations such as police associations, and other key stakeholders to both establish the programme and identify participants.
“Government assistance will be provided to parents through an hourly subsidy to be paid per child towards the cost of using a nanny.
“The subsidy will be paid directly to services and will be adjusted according to family income, consistent with the broader child care subsidy model soon to be announced,” Mr Joyce said.
“The Productivity Commission Report into Childcare and Early Childhood Learning recommended nannies be an eligible service for government assistance to families. This has been reinforced to the government through our targeted consultation process.
“A major focus of the pilot programme will be on services in rural and regional areas.
“Nannies are not meant to replace mainstream child care services however families need to be able to choose the care type that suits them best, including using nannies in addition to other forms of child care.
“New England Electorate families with young children will receive more support to help them get work and stay in work as further initiatives under the Abbott’s Government’s families package are released in the coming weeks,” Mr Joyce said.
More information about the Interim Home Based Carer Subsidy Programme will be available on the Department of Social Services website at www.dss.gov.au