Child day-care crackdown pays off

A CRACKDOWN on shonky double-dipping childcare operators is saving Aussie taxpayers almost $8 million a week.

Fining more than 50 businesses, the Federal Government says it saved $70.7 million since closing a loophole 10 weeks ago that allowed providers to receive care payments for their own children while being paid to look after other children.

The Department of Education and Training also stopped $283 million going to other dodgy family day-care last financial year as it sanctioned and penalised 51 family day-care providers $6.1 million and recovered $15.1 million in incorrect payments.

Last financial year, investigators completed 2900 checks of operators. The only childcare businesses that can "child swap" are those that meet "specified circumstances" including operators in remote regions.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham yesterday warned business owners they could go to jail if they tried to rip off the system.

"Perpetrators of fraud are on notice," Mr Birmingham said.

"You will be caught and there are severe consequences, including the possibility of jail time.

"This tough stance is necessary to ensure our taxpayer dollars are directed to those operators doing the right thing and delivering high-quality, flexible and affordable child care to families and not those 'shonky' providers offering sub-standard services."

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