Parent advocacy group The Parenthood warn against a ‘snap back’ to CCS
Australian parents advocacy organisation The Parenthood has launched a campaign, led by Board Director Georgie Dent, calling on the government to extend its rescue package to save the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector, after signals from the Federal Government that a return to the child care subsidy (CCS) system was likely sooner rather than later.
Should the ECEC Relief Package be cut three months earlier, Ms Dent said, “it will put up to 86 per cent of services at risk of closing.”
“Returning to full fees will jeopardise many Australian children from being able to access the education and care they need, as well as make it more difficult for parents to return to work and adjust to the “new normal,” she added.
Ms Dent’s comments are based on what she termed ‘a snap review’ of the relief package undertaken by the government, which made the following core finding:
Responses to the ORIMA survey, from around 54 per cent of all services, showed that services considered that the relief arrangements (the Relief Package together with JobKeeper) were helping services, at least to some extent, to: stay open (86 per cent of services), remain financially viable (76 per cent), retain staff (86 per cent), provide child care to the children of essential workers and vulnerable children (87 per cent) and keep children enrolled (80 per cent).
Given that more than 600,000 Australians lost work last month alone, Ms Dent said, the announcement of an early return to CCS has left parents ‘deeply worried’ about a return to a childcare arrangement that she describes as “already deeply flawed”.
Mr Tehan has pledged that any return to CCS will be preceded by a four week notice period, giving educators and families time to adjust their budgets.
“There are some urgent problems with the current arrangement that need to be fixed because services are still struggling,” Ms Dent said, adding that “a great step” would be increasing the payments to centres from 50 per cent of pre-COVID19 revenue to 75 per cent.
She further recommended adjustments which would support educators and carers who are currently ineligible for JobKeeper, and measures put in place for family day care and in-home care providers who “are effectively being asked to take a 50 per cent cut,” which Ms Dent said “need to be addressed urgently.”
When the reforms to childcare were announced six weeks ago, the commitment was that the arrangements would be for at least six months, she added.
“The rumours that the government is now going to unwind this important reform will force Australians to make exactly that choice.”
“We have a chance, in the next few weeks, to make the system strong enough that it can support all of us – we should act on it urgently and strive for something better,” she said in closing.
To learn more about The Parenthood, please see here.