Tehan interview signals additional COVID-19 measures being explored for ECEC

by Jason Roberts

March 26, 2020

Federal Minister for Education, Dan Tehan, has signalled that in addition to the first round of ECEC dedicated support measures announced 23 March, his government continues to explore other measures that may help the early childhood education and care sector (ECEC) weather the challenges created by COVID-19. 

 

Speaking on ABC’s RN Drive Mr Tehan said “We understand the impact the virus is having on the sector and also understand the importance the child care sector is playing for our community” and that “we are also looking at other arrangements as to how to support the sector through the Coronavirus.”

 

Although it is unclear at this juncture what these new measures would be, when asked by Patricia  Karvelas whether the measures would include an ability for centres to waive gap fees, Mr Tehan did not confirm or deny in response instead saying “we are in ongoing discussions with the sector as we work through how we are going to support them.”

 

Mr Tehan gave additional details on the specifics of the new support measures announced earlier in the week which have since been passed into law and are live.

 

These new details are part of what are described as Minister’s Rules which are subordinate to the legislation and are designed to act as guidelines for the actual application of the new laws. 

 

They include the following:

  • all families will be allocated an additional 20 days of allowable absences to use in the 2019-2020 financial year ie: up to 30 June 2020
  • if additional absences are required beyond this for COVID-19 related reasons, medical evidence will not be required – active until 31 December 2020
  • services will not be required to recover gap fees between now and 31 December 2020 where they are instructed to close on public health direction only, at this stage

 

Commenting on the Minister’s Rules Mr Tehan said “Families will be able to access a total of 62 days of allowable absences, as well as additional absences, where a child is ill, quarantined or unable to attend child care due to COVID-19, and without the medical evidence usually required.”

 

To listen to Mr Tehan’s interview please click here.

 

To read Mr Tehan’s statement please click here

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