Victorian early educators in crisis without JobKeeper

Monday, 03 August 2020

For weeks Labor has been warning about the potential consequences of ripping JobKeeper away from early educators, and now our fears have been realised with the introduction of Stage 4 lockdown measures in Melbourne.

With child care centres across metropolitan Melbourne now only open for essential workers and vulnerable children, Victorian early educators are in limbo about their futures.

It appears the criteria to attend child care in Melbourne will be the most restricted it has been since the pandemic first hit, meaning considerably less children will be attending and less educators will be required to work.

Early educators are anxiously waiting to know whether their employers will continue paying them if they are stood down or their service is closed completely. Even for educators who remain employed, many will likely work less shifts and in turn take a significant pay cut.

This situation could have been avoided if early educators still had access to JobKeeper.

The Morrison Government’s decision to rip JobKeeper away from early educators as of 20 July was based on the false assumption that the crisis was over.

Once the situation in Victoria developed it became quickly apparent that this was ill-conceived, and that early educators still required support to remain on the books and connected to their employers.

Three and a half weeks ago on 8 July Labor warned:-

“Without JobKeeper, there is no guarantee that early educators will continue to get paid if Victorian providers are forced to close due to a drop in demand or potential government directive.”

Now the “potential government directive” has become a reality, and early educators in Victoria are being purposely robbed by the Morrison Government of the continuity and certainty that comes with JobKeeper.

Scott Morrison and Dan Tehan must acknowledge that using educators as the test case for removing JobKeeper was a mistake, and ensure Victorian educators do not end up in Centrelink queues as a result.

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