Wednesday, 08 July 2020
The Victorian early learning sector is in urgent need of support, to ensure that an expected drop in demand during lockdown does not force providers to shut their doors.
Labor welcomes the Morrison Government’s decision to allow providers to cease charging gap fees if a family from a lockdown impacted postcode is unable to attend early education and care. We will be consulting with Victorian providers to ensure this measure goes far enough to save the sector from collapse.
However Labor remains deeply concerned about the upcoming withdrawal of JobKeeper from the sector on 20 July.
The situation in Victoria shows why the Government’s decision to prematurely rip JobKeeper away from the sector is a mistake. Early educators clearly still require support to ensure they remain on the books and connected to their employers.
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.
If a provider shuts its doors, early educators could be pushed into Centrelink queues instead of receiving JobKeeper payments.
The situation in Victoria exposes the fact that snapping back to the old, pre-pandemic system, and withdrawing JobKeeper from the sector, completely fails to acknowledge the changed and uncertain landscape we continue to face.
The Morrison Government must implement a system that guarantees early educators will keep their jobs throughout the pandemic, and ensures early learning is affordable and accessible for every Australian family.