Australian Greens Senator for NSW and Education spokesperson Dr Mehreen Faruqi has said that the Prime Minister must announce measures to immediately support early childhood education and care.
As priorities, the government must:
- Commit to paying the Child Care Subsidy to centres based on pre-pandemic enrolment numbers, and remove the requirement for parental co-payments for absent children;
- Extend JobKeeper payments to all childcare workers, including casuals with less than 12 months’ service, and commence these payments as a matter of urgency;
- Scrap the Child Care Subsidy Activity Test.
Senator Faruqi said:
“Early learning and childcare has been on the precipice of disaster since the pandemic began. The Government must urgently step in to avoid a complete catastrophe.
“Providers are on the brink of closure. Early childhood educators and carers are distressed and feeling completely neglected. As enrolments and attendance plummet, thousands have been laid off and many don’t know if they’ll have a job from one day to the next.
“JobKeeper payments should be extended to all early childhood education and care childcare workers and begin flowing immediately. This should include casuals with less than 12 months’ service.
“The government needs to pay the Child Care Subsidy to centres based on pre-pandemic enrolments, without requiring co-payments for absent children.
“Parents are struggling to keep their children in care as it becomes harder and harder to pay fees. The CCS activity test must be scrapped immediately.
“Child care is an essential service and a public good. For centres that continue to struggle, the government should bring them into public hands,” she said.