Close to $1 billion in would-be taxpayer subsidies has been stripped from over 100 family day care providers nationally after a government blitz on childcare subsidies.
Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham said that a six-month blitz on the sector has led to action being taken against 151 service providers for making false claims for subsidies.
Those subsidies, had they gone through, would have cost the public purse an estimated $990 million.
“We have been relentless in our pursuit of those who break the rules and rip-off taxpayers. We won’t stop in our effort to improve the integrity of the entire childcare system to protect taxpayers and families,” said Mr Birmingham.
“Family day care providers who doctor paperwork, exaggerate the hours of care or even claim subsidies for ‘invisible’ children will be caught and we will throw the book at you.”
Mr Birmingham notes that since the beginning of 2014, over $2.4 million in fraudulent subsidy claims have been denied and 28 people have been charged with childcare fraud.
One of the biggest single suspected frauds was revealed in May this year, when a Sydney childcare operator claimed subsidies for more than 1,600 enrolments in a single month — equivalent to 0.1 of a percentage point of all children in childcare right across Australia.
Australian Federal Police were called in to investigate the alleged fraud, which is worth over $5.7 million.
A separate investigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman recently revealed that two childcare workers were allegedly unpaid for an entire year after the terms of their unpaid work experience were expanded.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.