Additional support for WA families and the ECEC sector as Omicron wave impacts

Additional support for WA families and the ECEC sector as Omicron wave impacts

by Freya Lucas

March 11, 2022

The Federal Government is introducing additional targeted support for Western Australian families and the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector as they deal with the impacts of the Omicron wave. 

 

Families will be able to receive unlimited allowable absences from 3 March until 30 April 2022, and Child Care Subsidy will be paid for all absences prior to a child’s first or last attendance if the child’s enrolment begins or ends during this period. The measures mirror support offered to all other states and territories at the peak of the Omicron wave in January. 

 

Acting Minister for Education and Youth, Stuart Robert anticipates the measures will help over 80,000 families and shore up funding for around 1,250 ECEC services in WA.

 

‘With the Western Australia state border open, we must be ready to support families and child care services as they deal with the impacts of COVID-19 in their communities,’ Minister Robert said. 

 

Providing unlimited allowable absences for use during the peak of the Omicron wave, he continued, will relieve pressure on families and means they will not have to worry about depleting their annual allocation in coming weeks.

 

“The pandemic has continued to remind us just how important the child care sector is to provide a safe learning environment for children and to maintain parents’ and carers’ workforce participation, and we will continue to support services across Australia to remain open and viable,” the Minister said.

 

On 27 January, the Morrison Government broadened the gap fee waiver for all children so a service may still receive CCS if it closes, or partially closes, because it is unable to meet child-to-educator ratios. The gap fee waiver will also be extended to services that close after following health advice from a government agency. 

 

Additionally, a further 10 allowable absence days have been provided to families nationally, bringing the total number of allowable absences this financial year to 52 days. This is on top of the unlimited absences being provided during the peak of the Omicron wave in each jurisdiction. 

 

The support applies until 30 June 2022 across Australia, relieving pressures on families and helping the child care sector to remain open and viable. 

 

The Government will continue to monitor the situation and work with WA authorities to support families with children in care and the early education and child care sector.

 

For more details about the new measures visit: www.dese.gov.au/covid-19/childcare

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