Dan Tehan confirms new COVID-19 support measures for Victorian ECEC sector
Federal Minister for Education Dan Tehan has announced a new set of emergency support measures to help the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector in Victoria in light of the move to Stage 4 lockdown in Metropolitan Melbourne and Stage 3 in Regional Victoria announced 2 August 2020.
The key measures, that are to come into effect on 6 August 2020 are confirmed as:
- Families will be allocated a further 30 days of allowable absences to use at their service in addition to the 42 that are already in place, giving a total of 72 allowable absences available for families to use.
- Services will receive a further 5 per cent of reference period revenue as a further top up business continuity payment. This will be in addition to the existing 25 per cent Transition Payments that are currently in place bringing a total guaranteed receipt of 30 per cent for all services.
Importantly, a separate measure has been put in place for any service that receives Child Care Subsidy (CCS) that is equal to or lower than 50 per cent of their total revenue and that has seen attendances fall below 30 per cent.
Services meeting these criteria will instead receive top up payment of between 10 per cent and 25 per cent depending on their specific circumstances in addition to their current 25 per cent Transition Payments.
Commenting on the sector’s contribution and the new measures Mr Tehan said “We all owe a debt of gratitude to our early learning and childcare workers who have done such important work this year as our country has dealt with the coronavirus – every parent values your commitment to their children and their early education.”
“We are now focusing on supporting Victorian families, workers and childcare services to help them get through their Stage Four lockdown. Our temporary package will ensure families receive continuity of care and services remain viable” he added.
At this afternoon’s press release Mr Tehan noted that the funding disbursements would in total equate to around 80 per cent to 85 per cent of a services revenue and although it is unclear of the precise assumptions used it is clear that by structuring the measures this way, providers have been incentivised to encourage families to maintain their enrolments by using their absences so they can continue to claim the CCS part of their daily fees.
A further important component of the announcement is the ongoing employment guarantee that is in place for educators to secure their roles going forward.
On this matter Mr Tehan noted in the press conference that “And in my consultations with the sector, they have said that they want to send a very strong message. They want to support the early childhood workforce through this pandemic because they understand how important those workers will be once we come out of this pandemic.”
With regards to outside school hours care (OSHC) services located in regional and rural Victoria that are now moving to a Stage 3 lockdown, Mr Tehan has extended the emergency support provisions provided to Metropolitan and Mitchell Shire OSHC providers last week.
These measures include a new Additional Viability Support Payment equivalent to 15 per cent of revenue, in addition to the existing Transition Payment arrangements.
To read Mr Tehan’s press release please click here.
*This article has been updated since initial publication.