ECEC peak bodies applaud Government’s sector focused Relief Package
In the wake of Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s announcement of a dedicated early childhood education and care (ECEC) COVID-19 support package some of the sector’s largest peak bodies have released statements applauding the Government’s move.
The Early Learning and Care Council of Australia (ELACCA) said that they applaud the Prime Minister and Government following the announcement that families will receive ‘free’ early learning and care during the coronavirus pandemic with Elizabeth Death CEO noting that “At first glance it augured well for the sector’s sustainability and the essential role it plays in educating and caring for Australian children.”
Paul Mondo, President of the Australian Childcare Alliance (ACA) said “Whilst we are still working through the details, ACA and the early learning sector applaud the Government’s commitment to providing this immediate relief for our service providers, and in turn, our highly valued early learning sector workforce.”
Samantha Page, CEO of Early Childhood Australia (ECA) said “This announcement tackles most of the big issues that services and families have been grappling with over the past month” and that “families will now continue to have access to the services they trust, and services know they can stay open with core jobs secured.”
The new package, which will see centres receive a direct payment from the Government based on 50 per cent of service turnover in the two weeks prior to 2 March 2020, effectively sidelines the old Child Care Subsidy system which in turn means children will be able to attend care with no fees payable for the next 12 weeks suring up service revenue to an extent.
Notably, the new package will be available to all services in addition to the JobKeeper package announced earlier in the week.
“We believe the new financial measures, coupled with the JobKeeper payment, and the other existing support mechanisms, will allow the early learning sector to continue playing its essential role in educating and caring for Australia’s young children” said Mr Mondo.
In relation to the impact on families Ms Death noted that she was confident that the waiving of the gap fees removing the activity test will encourage many families to resume engagement with their early learning service and in doing so recommence a vital early education for their children.
Ms Page emphasised that the package would come as a relief for many families who have elected to keep their children at home to support in efforts toward reducing the rate of infection within the community, saying that for families “there is no longer a terrible choice between paying a gap fee and losing their place at the service.”
For more information about the measures announced yesterday, please see here.