Australian Labor has announced that if elected, they will enact legislation to ban services funded under the Child Care Subsidy from offering “inducements” for families to enrol their children.
The Shadow Early Education Minister Amanda Rishworth described practices such as offering free iPads and holiday packages as “alarming”, and “not an appropriate use of taxpayer funds”.
Ms Rishworth said that if Labor won the next election, they would ban those practices.
“[Child Care Subsidy] funding is to support families meet the costs of child care and early education – not for providers to give away in a mad scramble to increase enrolments”, said Ms Rishworth. “For profit providers are making $1 billion in profits from the system. This profit is underwritten by the taxpayers. Enrolling inducements do not meet community expectations and undermines the value of quality in early learning centres.”
The practice of offering “giveaways” to families has been present in the sector for many years, and highlights the often highly-competitive nature of securing enrolments in areas that have a large number of services.
According to The Guardian, the Education Minister Dan Tehan would not comment directly on the practice of free products or services tied to enrolments.