Childcare funding top-up great news but more details needed

Childcare funding top-up great news but more details needed

Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie has welcomed the news that the Government will give extra funding to childcare centres and Family Day Care educators who are not eligible for wage subsidies, but says details about the arrangements are needed.

"I am really pleased that the Government has heeded my call and the call from the childcare sector that one size does not fit all with regards to both the $1.6 billion dollar Early Childhood Education and Care Relief and the JobKeeper scheme," Rebekha said.

"The package was designed to nurse the bigger centres through the COVID-19 crisis but the model made Family Day Care services and centres run by large charities, not-for-profits and non-government schools unsustainable.

"Some of the Family Day Care operators who contacted my office advised that due to the Government’s Early Childhood Education and Care Relief scheme, they would lose in excess of 70 to 80 per cent of their usual income, but were ineligible for JobKeeper payments.

"So I welcome the recent announcement from the Education Minister Dan Tehan that 'top-up payments' would be made available to Family Day Care and In-Home Care providers as well as centres run by non-government schools, large charities and not-for-profits.

"My office has also been contacted by a number of parents who have been unable to return to work after parental leave – one parent in particular as an ICU nurse, another as an ambulance officer – due to the fact that there are now no available spaces for their children.

"Under the Government’s recent announcement, child care centres that can show an increase in demand especially for children of essential workers and/or vulnerable and disadvantaged children, may also now be eligible for an additional payment, which will be a great relief for many families who have been left without child care spaces.

"However, there appears to be scant detail about the Exceptional Circumstance Supplementary Payments, including just how much money providers are eligible to apply for and under exactly what circumstances.

"The Education Department's fact sheet says providers can apply for Exceptional Circumstance Supplementary Payments to meet the demand for child care up to their service's full capacity taking into account staff, resources and health and safety issues."