Sydney families forced to pay for child care they cannot access

Monday, 05 July 2021

Sydney families are paying for child care they cannot use during the current lockdown because the Morrison Government is refusing to help.

During the Sydney lockdown, many parents are doing the right thing by adhering to stay at home orders and keeping their children at home if possible.

In return, the Morrison Government has failed to act swiftly and ensure Sydney families are not left out of pocket for a service they cannot access.

With the stroke of a pen, the Morrison Government could allow early learning providers in affected areas to waive gap fees for families not using their service.

However, they have so far failed to do so.

While the Government has allowed providers to waive gap fees if a service is directed to close, it is not permitted when the service is open but families are under stay at home orders.

This situation would have been avoided if the Morrison Government had not stubbornly rejected Labor’s recent amendment in the Parliament, which would have made the waiving of gap fees automatic for areas under stay at home orders.

For well over a year, Labor has been critical of the Morrison Government’s lack of a plan for early education in the event of lockdown measures.

This has been an ongoing issue for families across the country during the pandemic and Labor has raised it with the Government during previous lockdowns.

Over the past month alone, families in Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia have had the same experience during their respective lockdowns.

With the longevity of the current lockdown in Sydney, which has been in place since 26 June, families could very well end up hundreds of dollars out of pocket for child care they cannot use.

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.

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