Around one million families are set to receive free child care during the coronavirus pandemic under a new plan from the Coalition Government.
Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton said the plan will help deliver financial relief for parents in his electorate.
“Today’s announcement will help ensure the early childhood education and care sector in the Parkes electorate can make it through to the other side of this crisis,” Mr Coulton said.
“The Government will pay 50 per cent of the sector’s fee revenue up to the existing hourly rate cap based on a point in time before parents started withdrawing their children in large numbers.
“This will support families in my electorate who are doing their best to keep working and looking after their children throughout this pandemic.
“It will also help to ensure child care and early learning services can keep their doors open for families who need them.”
Mr Coulton said priority would be given to working parents, vulnerable and disadvantaged children that need early education more than ever and parents with pre-existing enrolments.
“This plan provides funding certainty to early childhood education and care services at a time where enrolments and attendance are unpredictable,” he said.
“These services are vital for so many parents so they can provide for their family. Children need as much continuity as possible as we progress through these difficult times.”
The new system will see payments start to flow at the end of next week.
Child care services seeking health and situation information about COVID-19 should contact the 24/7 National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080. Information is also available from https://www.dese.gov.au/news/coronavirus-covid-19
Child care package – Background
Funding will apply from 6 April based on the number of children who were in care during the fortnight leading into 2 March, whether or not they are attending services.
The system will be reviewed after one month, with an extension to be considered after three months. The payments will be paid in lieu of the Child Care (CCS) and Additional Child Care Subsidy payments.
The plan means the sector is expected to receive $1.6 billion over the coming three months from taxpayer subsidies because of the March 2 baseline that has been set, compared to an estimated $1.3 billion if current revenues and subsidies had continued based on the existing system and the significant reduction of enrolments the sector has seen.