Melbourne returns to lockdown – Dan Tehan confirms ECEC to remain open and “gap” fee waivers for affected families
In the wake of Greater Melbourne returning to lockdown Dan Tehan, Federal Minister for Education has confirmed that early childhood education and care (ECEC) services will remain open and that “gap” fee waivers will be extended to families directly impacted by COVID-19.
Commenting Mr Tehan said “if a child is absent from care for COVID-related reasons, the child care service can waive their gap fee which means more money in the family’s pocket. It also provides certainty to families that they will retain their enrolment at the child care service” and “will ensure child care services maintain their enrolments and continue to be paid the CCS, even if a child is absent for a COVID-related reason.”
The response comes after Premier Dan Andrews reimposed stage three restrictions for six weeks across metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire from midnight 7 July 2020 in a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19 after what he described as an “unacceptably high” number of new cases.
The return to lock down will mean residents will only be allowed to leave their homes for four main reasons:
- Shopping for food and supplies
- Medical care and caregiving
- Exercise and recreation
- Study and work – if unable to be done from home
In addition, Premier Andrews confirmed that Year 11 and 12 students will return to school as planned but Prep to Year 10 students will see their school holidays extended by one week whilst advice is sought from health experts as to whether it is safe for the younger cohorts to return.
In total, 31 municipalities will be impacted by the new restrictions; Banyule, Bayside, Boroondara, Brimbank, Cardinia, Casey, Darebin, Frankston, Glen Eira, Greater Dandenong, Hobsons Bay, Hume, Kingston, Knox, Manningham, Maribyrnong, Maroondah, Melbourne, Melton, Monash, Moonee Valley, Moreland, Mornington Peninsula, Nillumbik, Port Phillip, Stonnington, Whitehorse, Whittlesea, Wyndham, Yarra and Yarra Ranges.
The development comes at a particularly uncertain time for ECEC services as the sector prepares to return to the CCS co-payment subsidy model with a corresponding Transition Payment on 13 July and for the loss of JobKeeper on 20 July 2020.
The new measures announced by Minister Tehan will be available alongside the Transition Payments received by a service.
To read Premier Andrews’ statement please click here.
To read Minister Tehan’s statement please click here.