Federal Government announces ECEC support package for NSW, ACT and VIC services
Minister for Education and Youth, Alan Tudge, has confirmed that the Federal Government will provide targeted support to early childhood education and care (ECEC) providers in Commonwealth declared COVID-19 hotspots.
“Giving families additional absence days and allowing gap fee waivers has kept many children enrolled and means services have still been able to receive the Child Care Subsidy even if kids haven’t attended,” Minister Tudge said.
“Importantly the new payments are targeted to services that have seen attendance levels fall by at least 50 per cent and are conditional on centres keeping staff in work and passing on support for families.”
“The measures will encourage services to pass on gap fee waivers to parents, meaning those keeping their kids home during lockdown won’t be paying out‑of‑pocket costs when they aren’t using the service.”
The key highlights of the packages are as follows:
- Eligible long day care (LDC) services will receive payments equal to 25 per cent of their pre-lockdown revenue, calculated up to the hourly cap, with outside school hours care service to receive payments of 40 per cent.
- The support will apply to services seven days after the hotspot is declared, where states have directed families to keep their children at home.
- Where children are still allowed to attend, but the area is still designated a hotspot, the support will kick in four weeks after the hotspot declaration, assuming eligibility criteria are met.
- The measures are in addition to gap fee waivers provisions.
- The new payments will immediately benefit LDC services in affected areas of Sydney and the ACT and with services in Metropolitan Melbourne, regional Victoria and regional NSW becoming eligible seven days after lockdown.
- Payments will be backdated to 23 August 2021.
- Payments will be contingent on services expecting attendance below 50 per cent, waiving gap fees for all families whose children are not attending, maintaining staffing levels, agreeing to a fee freeze for the duration of support.
- Services will also not be allowed to access other Commonwealth Government funded business supports such as Community Child Care Fund (CCCF) Grants when receiving the additional targeted support.
- Payments will commence in around two weeks from 23 August 2021.
- The supports will also be available for services who meet the criteria in any future extended lockdowns.
To read Minister Tudge’s release please click here.