North Coast

More help for Childcare…but where are the details?

The Federal Government will provide additional targeted support for childcare providers impacted by Covid-19 lockdowns, through new fortnightly payments.

Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan recently announced services in our region will be eligible for payments of 25 percent of their pre-lockdown revenue, while Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) services will be eligible for payments of 40 percent.

Mr Hogan said the payments will apply to services seven days after the hotspot is declared, where states have directed families to keep their kids at home.

“The measure is in addition to the existing Federal Government supports, including gap fee waivers which allow Commonwealth Child Care Subsidy to continue even when children are not attending,” he said.

“The childcare and early education sector is critically important for families and our economy, and these payments will help keep services open and staff employed.

“The sector has been doing an incredible job to provide essential care for kids during the pandemic and we are backing them in while attendance rates are down.

“These payments will ensure our high-quality childcare and early education centres are there on the other side of these lockdowns.

“Giving families additional absence days and allowing gap fee waivers has kept many children enrolled and means services have still been able to receive the Child Care Subsidy even if kids haven’t attended.

“The measures will encourage services to pass on gap fee waivers to parents, meaning those keeping their kids home during lockdown won’t be paying out‑of‑pocket costs when they aren’t using the service.”

Streamlined payments will be available to services in around two weeks and families in affected areas are not required to do anything.

Mr Hogan said payments will be contingent on the following services:

  • Expecting attendance below 50 percent.
  • Waiving gap fees for all families whose children are not attending.
  • Maintaining staffing levels.
  • Agreeing to a fee freeze for the duration of support.
  • Not accessing other Commonwealth Government funded supports.

 Manager of Clarence Childhood Services Cristie Harris said while she welcomes the announcement and appreciates the promise of additional support, she said more details are required.

“I’m happy they’ve announced something to address the situation, but they haven’t provided all the details of the financial assistance package including the terms and conditions, and that’s what I would be interested in seeing,” she said.

“We’re just waiting for more information to be revealed so we can negotiate the best way to move forward.”

X