Council ECEC services start to close as JobKeeper omission takes its toll
Georges River Council have confirmed that it will close two of its six centres, and move to a three day week for another, due to the JobKeeper payment not being extended to local government workers, which would include employees of these centres.
The decision comes after a review of the operational viability of the centres which confirmed that they would not be financially viable with the ECEC Relief Package alone, and would require access to the JobKeeper payment to remain a viable entity.
Under the ECEC Relief Package all eligible centres will receive a cash payment from the Federal Government equal to 50 per cent of the revenue generated in the fortnight prior to 3 March 2020 up to the rate cap of $11.98 per hour.
Without the JobKeeper payment to offset against wages, the forced reduction in revenue has rendered the services uneconomic and led to the decision to close.
A Statement released on the Council’s website read “We understand what a blow this is to community members who are relying on childcare in a very trying time and we will do our best to assist them find alternative care options.”
Local Government Peak Bodies have expressed concern about the risk the changes pose to Council run services. In a statement released 2 April 2020, Local Government NSW President Linda Scott said “Councils need access to the JobKeeper payments – the viability of the essential services they deliver to their communities depends on it” and that they “need access to JobKeeper payments so council-run childcare and preschool services operated on a level playing field with other providers, and rural and regional communities were not disadvantaged further.”
For a comprehensive overview of the ECEC Relief Package and its implications for the broader sector please see here.