By the time the new Child Care Subsidy (CCS) year comes around in July 2023, there'll be some significant changes to the system that may affect your centre.
Some things have already changed since the start of the current CCS year, such as changes to inducements and the extension of staff discounts, whereas other changes - like changes to the activity tests - will come in later this year.
Let's go through all of the past and upcoming changes you should be aware of...
Cheaper Child Care - Rising CCS Rates from July 2023
In November, the government announced that CCS rates will be rising from 10th July 2023.
Raising the maximum CCS amount from 85% to 90% for families earning up to $80,000
Raising the income limit from $356,756 to $530,000
Raising the low income limit for ACCS Transition-to-Work to $80,000
Instead of having different brackets like the current CCS setup, families will simply receive 1% lower CCS for every $5,000 dollars they earn above $80,000.
So for example...
$80,000 = 90% CCS
$85,000 = 89% CCS
$90,000 = 88% CCS and so on...
$525,000 = 1% CCS
$530,000 = 0% CCS
Changes to the Activity Test for Families with First Nations Families from July 2023
From July 2023, First Nations children will be able to access a minimum of 36hrs per week of subsidised care.
This increase in hours of subsidised care is not free. CCS is applied just like any other session of care and families will still have to pay the gap fee.
Raising the minimum amount of subsidised care for First Nations children is part of the Closing The Gap initiative, and aimed at improving outcomes for First Nations children.
Changes to Inducements since January 2023
Since January 2023, certain types of inducements have been banned from childcare centres.
An inducement is an incentive that a centre gives a family to secure an enrolment, such as discounts, free days or gifts.
The types of inducements that are now banned are 'financial or not directly associated with the quality or provision of education or care services' (e.g. cash or gifts such as iPads).
One exception applies. You can gift merchandise up to $30 (such as pens, t-shirts etc.).
Cooks Now Eligible for Staff Discounts
The staff discount has been extended to centre cooks since January 2023.
Cooks can now receive the discount afforded to educators in centres, which was introduced in 2022.
For those that don't already know, the discount allows services to take of 95% of the gap fee from eligible staff members whilst still claiming the full amount for CCS.
Electronic-Only Gap Fee Payments from July 2023
From July, no more cash payments will be taken for gap fee payments. Instead, only Electronic Funds Transfer (ETF) is accepted
Here are some examples of ETF accepted:
card payments, bank transfers or direct deposits
Third-party payments through childcare software (e.g. OWNA)
BPay or CentrePay
Some Things to Look Out For...
As we approach the new CCS year, keep an eye out for any potential updates such as changes to the hourly cap or changes to the income tests.
We'll also keep you updated as we know more.