15 May 2024

2024-25 Budget Wrap Up

There were a number of measures announced for the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector in the Federal Budget which was handed down last night by the Treasurer, Dr Jim Chalmers.

Family Day Care Australia (FDCA) recognises the Government’s acknowledgement of the importance of the ECEC sector through a commitment to valuing the “care economy” more broadly.

It is evident that there is a continued focus in the Budget on Child Care Subsidy (CCS) payment integrity, both across the sector and specific to the family day care and in-home care sectors. Measures include a transition to direct collection of gap fees from 1 July 2025 (see story below for more detail), and changes to fit and proper requirements from 1 April 2025 with new providers applying for CCS approval needing to provide a satisfactory statement of tax record (STR). It should be noted that existing CCS approved providers may also be asked to provide an STR as part of audits or compliance reviews.

FDCA is meeting with the Department today and will continue to do so, particularly as we approach the release of the Productivity Commission final report, to advocate around the important role played by the family day care sector in Australia’s ECEC landscape, and to reinforce the case for stronger leveraging of the unique capabilities of family day care to better support children, families and communities across Australia.

Key measures in the budget that are most relevant to the ECEC sector include:

  • $84.2 million over four years from 2024–25 to the Department of Education to increase audits of providers in the child care sector and manage the centralised collection of child care gap fees in the Family Day Care and In Home Care sectors (refer below).
  • $8.3 million over four years from 2024–25 to Services Australia to upgrade the Child Care Subsidy system to support new compliance measures.
  • $4.8 million over four years from 2024–25 to the Australian Taxation Office to ensure satisfactory engagement with the Australian tax system regarding fitness and propriety requirements of existing and new child care providers.
  • $1.3 million over four years from 2024–25 to the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre to assist the Department of Education in identifying individuals of high, unexplained wealth with connections to the child care sector.
  • $30.0 million has been allocated over two years from 2024–25 in IT and payment services to deliver on its commitment to provide funding towards a wage increase for the ECEC sector. This is designed support a response to Fair Work Commission processes as they relate to this sector.
  • The Government will also provide $98.4 million in 2024–25 to help child care services increase their capacity to support inclusion of children with additional needs, through tailored support and funding to services.

To view the Budget documents click here.

For more information on the integrity measures, including fact sheets on the centralised gap fee collection and statement of tax record, click here.

Direct (Centralised) Collection of Gap Fees to be Introduced from 1 July 2025

One of the measures announced in last night’s budget specific to family day care is the requirement that from 1 July 2025, family day care providers must collect gap fees directly from families. This means that educators will no longer collect the gap fee themselves.

This transition seeks to further enhance government confidence in payment integrity across the sector, and in turn, as indicated by government, to provide a firm foundation for future growth and better leverage of the unique capabilities of the sector.  

For more detail on the direct collection of gap fees measure, read the Government’s Fact Sheet here.

FDCA is aware that many family day care services have already transitioned to a centralised (or direct) gap fee collection model; for these services, little will change. We are equally aware that many services have maintained a decentralised gap fee collection model, and that for these services, the announced measure may raise concerns and issues that need to be worked through.

It is important to bear in mind that this new requirement is not scheduled to take effect until 1 July 2025, and is subject to the passage of relevant legislation. This allows a strong lead-in time for the introduction of this measure, and during this time FDCA will be working closely with the Department to develop practical support for service providers as they transition to the new gap fee collection process. One of the first steps in the transition process will be a thorough sector consultation. FDCA will keep you abreast of these opportunities as they arise.

FDCA Online Engagement Series: Episode 10 - Play-Based Learning

Episode ten of the FDCA Online Engagement Series will be streamed live for FDCA members on Thursday 23 May from 6.00pm - 7.30pm (AEST), with our special guests exploring the topic of Play-Based Learning.

Our guests will unpack play-based learning and discuss a wide range of tips and strategies that can be implemented to assist in children's development.

Guests that will join our host, FDCA Advocacy and Engagement Manager Michael Farrell are:

Beryl Mort - Service Manager, Nature Alliance Family Day Care, WA

Ali Fleming - Family Day Care Educator, North Metro Family Day Care Scheme, SA

Episode Information

Episode: Play-Based Learning

Date and Time: Thursday, 23 May 2024, 6:00pm - 7.30pm AEST

Streaming Links: FDCA Website, Facebook and YouTube

Submit your questions

To help guide the conversation towards topics that interest you, we're calling on FDCA members to submit questions for our panellists.

If you would like to submit a question, simply click here.

FDCA Safeguarding Children Resource – Now Available on the FDCA Learning Hub

Following the release of FDCA’s Safeguarding Children: Harmful Sexual Behaviours resource in 2023, we are pleased to announce that a new online module, Preventing harmful sexual behaviour in family day care, is now available, free for members on the FDCA Learning Hub.

Developed and guided by FDCA’s previous resource, Safeguarding Children: Harmful Sexual Behaviours, this new interactive online module has been created in partnership with ECA and allows FDCA members to explore this very important topic at any time, via the FDCA Learning Hub.

The new online module will assist educators and service staff to:

  • Understand what sexual behaviours are developmentally appropriate in children and what behaviours are considered harmful.
  • Explore why some children engage in harmful sexual behaviours and what scenarios you may encounter within a family day care setting.
  • Discover the expectations placed upon educators in protecting children from sexual behaviours and learn some preventative strategies to protect children from these behaviours.
  • Discover ways to recognise the signs and indicators of harmful sexual behaviours and understand how to respond and report.

To access the module via the FDCA Learning Hub, click here and navigate to the FDCA Learning Hub tab in your FDCA Member Zone.

Family Day Care Week 2024 Wrap Up

May 6-12, 2024 we celebrated the 12th annual National Family Day Care Week. It was wonderful to see so many Educators, services and families coming together to celebrate family day care and the many fantastic individuals that make up our sector.

With close to 150 events registered with FDCA nationally, the much-loved week had no shortage of celebration and continues to shine a light on the irreplaceable role the family day care plays in the lives of thousands of children, families and communities across Australia each day.

You can view a collection of images shared by Educators and Services on the FDCA Facebook page or by searching the hashtag #FDCWeek24.

National Simultaneous Storytime 2024

National Simultaneous Storytime (NSS) is held annually by the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA). Every year a picture book, written and illustrated by an Australian author and illustrator, is read simultaneously in libraries, schools, pre-schools, childcare centres, family day care services and many other places around the country. In 2024, NSS will celebrate its 24th year promoting the value of reading and literacy. 

This year the book selected is Bowerbird Blues by Aura Parker.

NSS will take place on Wednesday 22 May 2024 and you can register for the event by clicking here.