Safe childcare services must remain open
Media interviews with the leadership of the Australian Childcare Alliance available now
Hundreds of Queensland doctors and nurses could soon be forced from the frontline battle against COVID-19 to stay home and look after their otherwise healthy children, if the Government doesn’t act quickly to provide an urgent lifeline to the hard-hit childcare (early learning) sector.
In one childcare (early learning) centre alone, 80% are children whose parents (more than 40) are employed in the two neighboring hospitals, Gold Coast Private and Gold Coast University.
Australia’s peak body for childcare (early learning) services, the Australian Childcare Alliance Queensland (ACA Qld) is again calling on the Federal Government to provide an immediate first-step solution which is cost neutral but would allow parents to retain their places and stop the centres from collapse.
The ACA Qld President, Ms Majella Fitzsimmons, said the Prime Minister’s expected wage subsidy announcement would be very welcome to help valued educators but that, alone, won’t help the 400,000 Queensland families (over 30% of whom are essential services) who rely on perfectly safe childcare to centres to stay open. There has been a dramatic withdrawal (40-60%) of children from Queensland centres, over the past week, by worried parents.
“There remains a simple and urgent cost-neutral step, the Federal Government must take now, to ensure Queensland’s childcare (early learning) services will be able to recover from this economic crisis and the children can return.”
As an urgent and initial first step, the Federal Government must allow providers to waive the gap fees (on average $100-$200 p/w) that parents must pay and continue to fund their places with the Child Care Subsidy, from March 01.
ACA Qld’s 850 centres are the lynchpin of the Queensland economy.
‘If they close this week, too many healthcare and emergency workers will be forced out of the health frontline, which is simply unacceptable,” said Ms Fitzsimmons. “We need the Federal Government to throw us that very simple, first-step lifeline and we need it now.”