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‘There were claims for children who don’t exist’ : Simon Birmingham on family daycare crackdown

Luke Grant

Almost $1 billion in taxpayer dollars that was destined for 151 dodgy family daycare centres has been stopped, after a six-month government crackdown on providers gaming the system.

Subsidies have been cancelled or suspended for dishonest providers, with the blitz restoring integrity to the system and protecting taxpayers from a potential rip-off.

Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham says the compliance overhaul is a big win for the taxpayer.

“People would expect a Liberal Government to be about making sure that taxpayer dollars are respected. In the end, every dollar is precious because it’s tax that someone is paid,” Birmingham tells Luke Grant.

“So we now conduct more than 4,000 checks a year. We have taken action against 151 different providers in a 6 month surge to make sure we clean up the system.”

A range of different malpractice forms have been detected through the blitz, ranging from exaggerating work hours to inventing children.

“At the extremes, we get cases where they claim for children who don’t exist, children who weren’t there, children who were overseas at the time. You do get claims for higher fees then were actually charged and extended hours and sessions of care, where the kids where only there for a part of the time. It’s a range of different areas.”

Birmingham also addressed ANU’s ditching of its Western civilisation course, as well as the NSW Government’s review into whether smart phones should be banned in schools.

“My view is personal mobile phones have no place in the classroom,” says Birmingham.

“Frankly, a personal phone that is connected to the internet and social media pages really is a circumstance that is too much distraction. It’s a distraction for the rest of the class and can be a platform for cyber-bullying.”


Click PLAY below for the full interview

Luke Grant