Rishworth critical of lack of plan for ECEC as end of September looms
“Time is ticking” Australia’s Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education and Development, Amanda Rishworth has said, expressing concern at the lack of a coherent plan to support the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector post September.
Transitional measures put in place to support the sector after JobKeeper was withdrawn in July, are set to expire 28 September, and Ms Rishworth has shared her concern that there is currently nothing to replace them.
Ms Rishworth said the actions of the Government through the pandemic thus far have “continually left the sector in limbo, flinging them from one set of arrangements to another”.
She called for the Federal Government to take urgent action, and create “a sensible plan” which would support the ECEC sector to navigate the crisis over the coming months and into 2021.
“We have also heard nothing from the Minister about his plan for the Activity Test, which is set to resume for families on 4 October,” Ms Rishworth said, noting concern about the test being a significant barrier for many families to access childcare as Australia battles high unemployment and underemployment.
“A decision to snap-back to the Activity Test in October would be made under the false assumption that this crisis is over,” she added, saying that “by the Morrison Government’s own admission, Australia is yet to see the full force of the unemployment crisis – with 400,000 Australians expected to join the unemployment queue by Christmas.”
“We are still very much in the midst of this recession, and early educators, providers and families need a plan from the Government to get them through,” Ms Rishworth concluded.