Australian Greens Education spokesperson Senator Mehreen Faruqi has called on the Education Minister to extend the current free childcare arrangements.
The Minister is expected to announce the future of free childcare in the coming days, with the program currently due to expire on 28 June.
Writing in Women's Agenda today, Senator Faruqi has said that a failure to extend the package would force those who have lost work or income during COVID-19 to pay fees or withdraw their children from care.
Senator Faruqi said:
“Thousands of Australian families have benefited enormously from free childcare since the beginning of April.
“As unemployment rises dramatically, the government should be supporting families by ensuring they have access to essential services like childcare.
“Going back to the fee-paying model now would not only harm those families, but also represent a huge lost opportunity.
“There is a compelling case for free and universally available early childhood education and care. It would have enormous social and economic benefits for our community, and lead to a more equitable society.
“There are holes in the free childcare model introduced during COVID-19 that need fixing. Services need more support to ensure they are financially viable as attendance increases, and JobKeeper eligibility must be expanded to cover all childcare workers who need it. The centres that have fallen through the cracks should be provided for,” she said.