Support for council-run ECEC services falls short, Liverpool Mayor says
Liverpool Mayor Wendy Waller has spoken out about the recent Federal Government commitment to provide funding relief for those services who are impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak in New South Wales and other states and territories.
The support package, Ms Waller said, is not enough to fill the revenue shortfall created by the extended stay-at-home orders.
Under the support measures, the Federal Government will provide fortnightly payments of up to 25 per cent of pre-lockdown revenue, which according to the Federal Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE), will be available in the next fortnight. To receive the payments, providers must satisfy the following conditions:
- have reasonable expectations attendance will drop below 50 per cent;
- not access other Commonwealth Government-funded business supports;
- waive gap fees for all families whose children are not attending;
- maintain staffing levels; and,
- agree to a fee-freeze for the duration of business continuity payments.
Ms Waller said the funding would bring some relief to providers who have been heavily impacted by the extended COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, describing the educators who had remained working on the frontline as “the unsung heroes of the pandemic,” continuing to deliver care for the children of essential workers including nurses and doctors.
“While this support will help early education and care providers remain financially viable, our calculations show the support will not fully offset lost revenues with many providers likely to continue running at a loss potentially totalling thousands of dollars,” she added.
As a result the Mayor, on behalf of the Liverpool City Council, called on the Federal Government to “offer further support to not only safeguard the financial viability of the sector but ensure quality of service is maintained at the highest level throughout this important period and beyond.”