330,000 families worse off under new laws: report

ABOUT 330,000 families would be worse off under the Federal Government's mooted Jobs for Families Child Care Package.

That is the fear of Early Childhood Australia, which bills itself as a "voice for young children".

ECA says it is worried about the impacts of the government's plan to streamline childcare subsidies and introduce a new activity test forcing parents to complete up to eight hours of work-related activity to qualify for subsidies.

ECA commissioned the Australian National University to examine the proposal and gave the result to the Senate's education committee yesterday.

Using Australian Bureau of Statistics data, it found 708,401 families would not be worse off or would get an increased subsidy through the package.

However, it also showed 330,000 families could have their childcare hours cut.

"Of those, about 150,000 would lose as a result of the tighter activity test," researcher Ben Phillips said.

The ECA's Samantha Page said the plan did not allow for "complex" reasons for failing the criteria.

"All it takes is for one parent to be in irregular work, experience an illness or be struggling with some difficult training and the family will lose their entitlement to subsidised early learning," she said.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham said the government's "superior" data showed a million families would benefit.


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