Time for change in Government rhetoric on rorters and fraudsters says Family Day Care Australia

17 December 2018

Family Day Care Australia (FDCA), the national peak body for the family day care, is calling on the Australian government to reframe its approach and its language in its dealings with the family day care sector.

The Hon Dan Tehan MP, Minister for Education, today announced a $52 million investment targeting “rorters and fraudsters” while in the same breath, expresses concerns about “giving the sector a bad name.”

Family Day Care Australia CEO Andrew Paterson stated “our organisation and the sector more broadly have, despite the challenges, been advocates for compliance reform and enforcement but the blunt instrument approach is impacting legitimate providers and in turn, Australian children and families.”

“Not only have we seen disproportionate compliance enforcement, but the continued rhetoric around rorters and fraudsters has undermined sector confidence,” Mr Paterson added.

“The Minister suggests that legitimate providers had nothing to fear, unfortunately the heavy handed approach to date has left the sector reeling,” Mr Paterson stated.

From 31 March 2018 to 30 September 2018 , FDCA data indicates a decrease in educators of over 14%. While from 31 March 2018 to 30 September 2018, we saw a decrease in services of over 13%.

FDCA CEO Andrew Paterson stated "Family day care plays a very unique and important role in the broader early childhood education and care landscape. It is, for many, the option of choice and, for many others, the only choice in meeting the diverse and changing needs of Australian families, children and communities.

"Market restrictions and sustained regulatory reform have been compounded by the removal of the operational funding that supported the service’s role in co-regulation. Legitimate growth and viability have been undermined and the cumulative impacts have seen quality providers unable to sustain their operations and in turn exiting the sector.

"FDCA contends that this is an opportune time for the Australian government to reassess approaches to supporting the family day care sector, focusing on incentivising higher quality and more flexible and sustainable service delivery, thereby reducing restrictions on growth and leveraging the unique capacity of providers in meeting the diverse needs of Australian children, families and communities."

As such, FDCA is also calling on the Government to take a reformed and consultative approach to compliance, as committed to by the Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education and Development, the Hon Amanda Rishworth MP, at the FDCA National Conference in September 2018. Ms Rishworth stated "I am concerned that the Government’s compliance program has no interest in supporting high quality family day care, and is sending a signal there is no future for high quality providers and educators. I am worried it is casting its net so wide it is now ensnaring honest, quality providers.

"We will adopt a reformed, more targeted and more collaborative approach to compliance, as opposed to a blunt instrument approach that risks legitimate service providers being unfairly caught up in the current compliance regime."