ALGA welcomes additional funding for council-run ECEC services in NSW, Vic and ACT
The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) has welcomed a recent announcement from the Federal Government in relation to extra funding to support early childhood education and care (ECEC) services impacted by extended COVID-19 lockdowns in New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory.
Eligible services will now be able to access fortnightly Commonwealth support payments on top of the existing gap-fee waivers introduced last week.
“Today’s support package announced by the Morrison Government will help local government early education and care centres remain open, supporting parents and our local communities,” ALGA President Linda Scott said.
“These are essential community services, caring for and educating our children and enabling parents to keep working in other front-line areas of need,” she continued.
“They have helped support Australia through this pandemic, and they’ll be vital for our continued economic recovery, so we’re pleased the Federal Government has seen fit not to leave them financially vulnerable.”
The new payments will benefit early childhood services in affected areas of Sydney and the ACT and out-of-school-hours care (OSHC) services in Metropolitan Melbourne.
All other services in Metropolitan Melbourne, regional Victoria, and regional NSW will become eligible after seven days of lockdown, with payments backdated to 23 August.
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; and,
- not accessing other Commonwealth Government-funded supports.
The federal Department of Education, Skills and Employment is finalising details of the package, but payments are expected to be available to services in around two weeks.
“On behalf of local governments, ALGA looks forward to working with the Morrison Government to ensure the details of the support meet the needs of our communities,” Ms Scott said.
“We thank the Government for recognising the need for the local government early education sector’s sustainability to be shored up.”