LGNSW welcomes vaccine availability while asking for ongoing support as COVID grows
Early childhood education and care (ECEC) professionals in Sydney’s COVID hotspots will now be prioritised for Pfizer vaccines following calls by local mayors and Local Government NSW (LGNSW) to include them as frontline staff.
“Mayors and councillors have rallied tirelessly to call on the State and Federal government to vaccinate our early education and care workforce, who provide essential support for our communities,” Local Government NSW (LGNSW) President Linda Scott said.
State and Federal governments were called on to prioritise vaccinations for the local government frontline workforce to protect essential workers and families using council services, including children.
“I met with Minister Greg Hunt and the National COVID Vaccination Taskforce representatives on behalf of our local government sector about the roll out of COVID vaccinations, including to our own staff, earlier this month,” Ms Scott said.
“As a result, together, I am pleased to say we have been able to secure the commitment to priority vaccinations.”
While the vaccination commitment was a genuine win for affected councils, she continued, many were still struggling with uncertain financial futures because of the Commonwealth’s decision to waive gap fees during the COVID lockdown.
“Council-run education and care services across NSW continue to be under financial threat because of waiving of gap fees, which means a vital component of funding is no longer available to early childhood providers.”
“Many private operators can access State Government business grants designed to help COVID-affected businesses, but council-run services do not have access to those grants.
“Local government operates the largest number of early childhood education services in NSW, and in rural and regional NSW is often the only provider. These essential services are all doing it tough in the current lockdown, and some are losing hundreds of thousands of dollars a week,” Ms Scott continued.
“Without further funding, the ongoing viability of critical local government early education and care services and the jobs they support are under threat.
“Last year the NSW Government supported council-run education and care centres affected by COVID closures by providing $82 million funding to centres that were not eligible to participate in JobKeeper arrangements.”
“This funding was vital to keeping these greatly-valued council-run services for our communities afloat. I am hopeful the NSW Government will once again work with us to ensure these education and care centres are financially supported through this current lockdown crisis.”