Problems with Coronavirus Childcare PackageMedia Release
Corangamite Federal MP Libby Coker will host a Zoom conference with local early childhood providers on Wednesday afternoon with ALP Shadow Minister for Early Childhood, Amanda Rishworth, as special guest.
The meeting will give Shadow Minister Rishworth an opportunity to explain the numerous problems with the Morrison Government’s childcare changes and to get feedback from providers about their challenges.
Shadow Minister Rishworth said that examples are emerging where, as a result of government changes, early learning providers are having to reduce staff, cut opening hours, deny care to new families or cancel existing enrolments to remain financially viable.
“The government’s changes restrict providers to 50 per cent of their revenue as of the beginning of March and, if eligible, Jobkeeper payments. There is also a top up fund, but this is only available in very limited circumstances. As a result many providers no longer have the financial capacity to take new enrolments or allow parents to increase their hours,” she said.
“For those fortunate enough to still be employed during this period, many workers with children have found their child care needs have changed. This can be due to the fact they feel they can no longer ask grandparents for care or they are in an industry with increased demand such as healthcare. It is vital our child care system is flexible and can support this change in demand for their services.”
Libby Coker said that her office had had numerous examples of parents being denied places, in some cases even where another child already attends the same centre and the place had been confirmed in March.
“This is an unacceptable position. One of the mums is a doctor in the Bellarine who was distraught because she needs to return to work as a much needed GP in early May. After the package was announced she was rung immediately by the Great Beginnings centre in Curlewis and told she could no longer have the place – despite the fact that they have capacity and her other child is already attending. The promise of “free childcare” was a great announcement but unfortunately the Federal Government didn’t actually fund free childcare.”
Another parent in the same situation is Tamara Sorensen, who is scheduled to return to her work in a bank office on the Bellarine in early May.
“For some time prior to Covid-19 I have had my 11month old enrolled at World of Learning in Leopold. Prior to today the last communication I had with world of learning was an email confirming enrolment and advising orientation will be organised closer to her start date on the 5th of May. When contacting them to organise orientation last week I was advised that Grace has a place but can’t attend. The customer call centre advised this was due to government restrictions. When speaking with the Leopold centre it was made clear this is not a health related issue but a company decision due to the government funding package. Across the G8 Group of companies they have put a hold on new enrolments advising me that this applied to my child even though she was previously enrolled.”
Ms Sorensen is angry and frustrated at the situation created by the Government package. “My husband and I are both considered essential workers and require both incomes to run our household. I am so frustrated and feel let down by the childcare system so close to my return to work date.”
Many providers, both locally and across the country, have been put in an incredibly difficult financial position by the Morrison Government’s child care changes.
Labor is urging the Morrison Government to adequately fund our early education and care system, to ensure every Australian family who requires child care can access it.
Ms Coker urged all parents denied a place to email or ring the office of Dan Tehan, the Minister for Education and Early Childhood and Federal Member for Wannon.Share Tweet