Child care changes locking families out of system

Thursday, 30 April 2020

Reports continue to emerge of families that are now locked out of the child care system as a result of the Morrison Government’s child care changes.

We are hearing concerning examples of mothers unable to return from maternity leave because their child care place has been cancelled, centres being forced to turn away essential workers begging for more care, and families having their days of care cut by 75 per cent.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the Morrison Government’s child care changes are locking some families out of the system and reducing the ability of these parents to work – something no family can afford during this difficult time.

Despite the Prime Minister stating that every Australian with a job is an essential worker, the reality is for some families access to child care is now a barrier to participating in work.

The government is trying to shift the blame onto providers – completely failing to understand that providers across Australia are desperately crunching the numbers to try and provide as much care as possible.

To keep their doors open with such a reduction in revenue, some early learning providers are left with no choice but to reduce staff, cut opening hours, deny care to new families or cancel existing enrolments.

The government’s changes restrict providers to 50 per cent of their revenue as of the beginning of March, providing providers with no incentive or capacity to take new enrolments or allow parents to increase their hours.

Providers are also eligible to apply for Jobkeeper or a top up fund – however many providers are still unable to access Jobkeeper, and there appears to be very limited circumstances in which providers can access the additional fund.

Without properly funding “free child care”, the Morrison Government’s child care changes have created winners and losers – with some families receiving free child care, and others receiving no care at all.

It is vital we have a properly funded child care system that adequately supports parents with employment during this current crisis, and enables parents to return to work after the crisis is over. If this is not done properly, it will be devastating for families, early educators and our economy.

Labor urges the Morrison Government to adequately fund our early education and care system, to ensure every Australian family who requires child care can access it.


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