Rishworth welcomes COVID measures, but wants to see protection for ECEC
Recent measures announced by the Federal Government to further support families and early childhood education and care (ECEC) settings during the COVID-19 crisis are welcomed, but may not go far enough to ensure the long-term viability of the sector, Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education and Development Amanda Rishworth has said.
While the Australian Labor Party (ALP) will be consulting with providers about the measures and will be monitoring the situation closely, the Party is “already aware of a number of concerns from the sector,” she added.
“In the short term, there remains significant uncertainty about whether early learning centres will remain open or will be required to close at the same time schools do.”
While the continued payment of the Child Care Subsidy (CCS) to services directed to close is an important measure, there is confusion about whether centres who voluntarily close will continue to receive the payments, Ms Rishworth said, adding that there are also questions around how services will be able to stay open if families choose to cease enrolment of their children over the coming weeks and months.
Whilst the ALP understands the circumstances surrounding COVID-19 are rapidly evolving, the Government must clearly, swiftly and effectively address the “potential disastrous impact” on the early learning sector, she continued.
“The Government must do everything possible to ensure we do not emerge from the other side of this crisis facing the permanent closure of early learning centres,” Ms Rishworth said, urging the Federal Government to listen to the sector and provide the necessary support to ensure early learning centres remain viable during this challenging time.
To read the statement in full, please see here.