Tehan announces VIC “Child Care Recovery Package” and extends activity test relaxation
Federal Minister for Education Dan Tehan has confirmed a new set of measures designed to support Victorian providers in light of the second wave lockdown, and has also provided some additional support for all Australian providers by extending the relaxation of the activity test for Australian families impacted by COVID-19 to 4 April 2021.
The announcement comes just one week before the broader sector support known as the “transition payment” terminates and ahead of Metropolitan Victoria’s early childhood education and care providers likely reopening as the fourteen day average of COVID-19 cases falls to between 30 and 50 cases.
Commenting on the new measures Mr Tehan said “Victorian families and providers will continue to be supported by the Federal Government so they can get back on their feet following the second wave” and “by easing the activity test Australian families can continue to access up to 100 hours of subsidised care per fortnight if their work, study or training hours have been impacted” by COVID-19.
The key measures in the new package for all Victorian services are:
- For Centre Based Day Care, Family Day Care and In Home Care – A Recovery Payment of 25 per cent of pre-COVID revenue will be paid directly to services from 28 September 2020 to 31 January 2021.
- For Outside School Hours Care providers – Recovery Payment of 40 per cent of pre-COVID revenue will be paid directly to services from 28 September 2020 to 31 January 2021 when in-school teaching returns (anticipated to be mid to late October).
In exchange for receiving these support packages services must not raise fees until 31 January 2021 and continue to adhere to the Employment Guarantee by committing to pass support payments on to educators and employees through wages and payments.
Minister Tehan also confirmed that the relaxation of the activity test, first introduced on 13 July as part of the “Return to CCS” package and due to expire on 4 October 2020 will be extended for all Australian families until 4 April 2021.
The “activity test” rules will enable individuals who can no longer engage in the same number of hours of work, training, study or other activity that they did prior to the COVID-19 crisis to access 100 hours of subsidised care per fortnight for up to 12 weeks.
The measure will support family’s ability to access subsidised care if their activity circumstances have reduced but will require income estimation from families to qualify plus will be capped at 85 per cent.
Notably, Mr Tehan also highlighted that outside of Victoria attendance hours continue to rise with attendance levels now at 108 per cent of pre-COVID-19 levels.
“Thanks to the hard work of all Australians in flattening the curve across the country, we have returned to our pre-COVID settings and some child care providers are now caring for more children than before the pandemic.”
To read Mr Tehan’s media release please click here.