New child care package threatens viability of early learning sector

Thursday, 09 April 2020

While we are pleased the Morrison Government acted last week to assist providers that were suffering from collapsing enrolments, Labor is deeply concerned that many early learning services are significantly worse off under the Government’s new child care policy.

As an unintended consequence of the new policy, some services have been stripped of so much income their viability is now at risk. With their revenue cut by a minimum of 50 per cent, many providers, particularly Family Day Care and In Home Services, are reporting they will not be able to continue providing their service.

We are hearing reports that these services are now cutting back on opening hours, turning families away or sacking early educators to try and survive.

Free child care will be of no benefit to those families that can no longer send their children to early learning and care because their provider has reduced access. Essential workers in particular need to know they can put their children into early learning.

In addition the viability of centres run by local councils, churches and some large not for profits are now at risk as they are not eligible for the Jobkeeper payment. The Minister made it clear that a combination of the new package and Jobkeeper payments will protect the viability of providers, and as such he must ensure services can access Jobkeeper.

Labor continues to urge the Government to ensure all early learning providers receive the necessary support to keep their doors open, both during and after the current crisis.

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