Thursday, 11 June 2020
Families and the early learning sector are still reeling from the Morrison Government’s decision to snap back to their old child care system.
Since the announcement, Labor has been vocal in our concern about the impact the snap back and removal of Jobkeeper from the sector will have on families, educators and providers.
Costs had already soared by 7.2 per cent in one year alone before the pandemic hit. Now, when we are in the middle of a recession and parents are earning less, these fees will be completely out of reach for many.
If early education and care becomes so unaffordable that parents begin withdrawing their children, it will be devastating for parents who won’t be able to work, children who will miss out on a quality early education, and the sector who will suffer from un-enrolments.
Labor has also strongly criticised the Government singling out early educators and removing them from the Jobkeeper scheme. Early educators are some of the most essential workers in the country, and this decision has created significant confusion and uncertainty these workers.
We call on the Government to guarantee replacing Jobkeeper with the transitional funding will not result in any early educators losing their jobs.
Labor’s concern and criticism has been mirrored throughout the sector.
The Parenthood, Campaign Director Georgie Dent
“The reality for families was that they were only able to continue their child’s access to early learning because it was free, now they will be forced with the heart wrenching decision to pull their kids out, making it almost impossible to look for work or work more.”
“The idea that in four weeks time all of the households that are dealing with job and income losses will be in a position to ‘return to normal’ is fantasy.”
Early Childhood Australia, CEO Samantha Page
“The transition package creates additional complexities and uncertainties for both services and families’.
‘We are very concerned that the Minister’s decision will entrench the negative impact of Covid-19 on women and young children. It will also add to the chaos and uncertainty among early childhood education and care services.”
“ECA is deeply concerned that, in a highly-female, low-paid workforce, Minister Tehan’s comments today suggested that educators’ incomes may fall as a result of removing JobKeeper payments.”
Goodstart Early Learning, CEO Julia Davison
“More than half of our families have told us that they have suffered a reduction in family income since March and paying fees will be difficult for many. This may mean children do not attend early learning in the second half of 2020, a time when they should be preparing for the transition to primary school.”
“We continue to face uncertainty with a survey of our families finding 37 per cent of responses would have to reduce their usage of child care when fees return.”
United Workers Union, Director of Early Education Helen Gibbons
“Educators and their union are appalled that ECEC is the first sector to have JobKeeper removed. Just a few months ago educators were essential, now they are disposable.”
“Demand will drop again once parent fees are reintroduced in a few weeks, beginning another spiral of instability.”