Families left in the dark on early education and care

Friday, 05 June 2020

The Morrison Government continues to leave families, providers and educators in limbo when it comes to the future of early education and care.

Despite the Government flagging that the current arrangements would end on 28 June, and the Minister promising he would give four weeks’ notice of any change, we still haven’t heard a peep from the Government about its plan after the current scheme ends.

Now more than ever, Australians need a Government that shows leadership and has a clear plan to deliver affordable, high quality and accessible child care. Instead, families and early learning providers have been left completely in the dark about their own futures.

The Morrison Government is scratching its head about how to fix the mess its poorly designed and underfunded “free child care” policy has created.

The Government’s current child care arrangements, implemented in response to COVID-19, have left many families unable to access to care, providers struggling to stay afloat and early educators without jobs. There are also concerning reports that the policy has impacted quality of care, with some providers struggling to meet staff ratios or maintain cleaning and hygiene practices.

However, a lazy snap back to the Government’s old, flawed system is not the answer. The old system saw Australian families paying skyrocketing fees, with fees soaring by 34 per cent since the Liberal Government was elected.

The work activity test of the old system will also make it incredibly difficult for many families to access care during this time of economic downturn.

The Morrison Government should not switch from one flawed child care system to the other. If they don’t get this right it will not only impact those children who miss out on a vital early education, it will be a handbrake on our economic recovery.

Labor calls on the Government to act urgently and properly fund and implement a system that delivers affordable, high quality and accessible early education and care for all Australian families.

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