Kerrie Rowlandson of Discovery Early Education and care centre.
Kerrie Rowlandson of Discovery Early Education and care centre.

Package a win for parents, centres

EARLY learning and childcare centres have received major support from the Morrison-McCormack Government to help get them through the coronavirus pandemic.

Federal Member for Cowper Pat Conaghan welcomed the support package as it would help save early educators’ jobs, plus provide certainty to parents and children during this difficult time.

“I thank the Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Education Minister Dan Tehan for this measure, which will effectively see childcare be free during the Covid-19 pandemic,” Mr Conaghan said.

“Assisting childcare centres to remain open will ensure the frontline workers our society relies upon – the doctors, nurses, cleaners and other workers – will be able to continue working.

“If you are a client of an early learning or childcare ­centre and have terminated your child’s enrolment since February 17, I encourage you to get back in contact with your centre and restart your ­arrangements.

“The Education Minister has said restarting your ­enrolment won’t require you to send your child to childcare and it won’t require you to pay a gap fee but it will hold your place for when you are ready to take your child back.”

Under the plan, the Government will pay 50 per cent of the sector’s fee revenue up to the existing hourly rate cap based on a point in time before parents started withdrawing their children in large numbers but only so long as services remain open and do not charge families for care.

The funding will apply from April 6 based on the number of children who were in care during the fortnight leading into March 2, whether or not they are attending services.

Priority will be given to working parents, vulnerable and disadvantaged children that need early education more than ever and parents with pre-existing enrolments.

Port Macquarie’s Discovery Early Education and Care Centre director Kerrie Rowlandson said the package would help her centre remain open.

“It is a great relief for both the families and our staff that we can continue to provide quality education and care to our family community,” she said.

“Parents will be relieved that they can perform their essential jobs knowing that their children will be engaged in a quality learning program in a safe environment.”

Childcare services seeking health and situation information about coronavirus should phone the 24/7 national coronavirus health information line on 1800 020 080.

Information is also available at www.dese.gov.au/news/coronavirus-covid-19.



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