Friday, 13 August 2021
Melbourne families are paying for child care they cannot use during the current lockdown because the Morrison Government is refusing to help.
During this lockdown, Melbourne parents who are not essential workers, have done the right thing by adhering to stay at home orders and keeping their children at home if possible.
The Morrison Government has not held up its end of the deal, and provided families with support in return.
In each of the recent Melbourne lockdowns, the Morrison Government has refused to allow early learning providers to waive gap fees for families not using their service.
After pressure from families and Labor, the Morrison Government finally provided the exemption in Sydney. They must now do the same in Melbourne.
Allowing families to claim extra allowable absence days is not a solution. Families are still paying full fees whilst claiming allowable absences.
This Government could fix this with the stroke of a pen, but has instead chosen to leave Melbourne families out of pocket for child care they cannot access, because they are doing the right thing during lockdowns.
The Government could also have passed Labor’s amendment in the Parliament, which would have automatically allowed services in areas under stay at home orders to waive gap fees.
Instead, the Morrison Government has stubbornly blocked Labor’s amendment – twice.
Each time there is a lockdown, this Government forces families to beg for fee relief, rather than adopting Labor’s common sense proposal and fixing the situation once and for all.
It is incumbent on the Morrison Government to ensure families are not financially burdened for a service they are not able to receive during lockdowns.