MEDIA RELEASE - Crisis support package urgently needed for Newcastle-Hunter region early learning sector
18 August 2021
The Newcastle early learning sector is headed for crisis if the Morrison Government doesn’t act urgently and provide support to child care services in the region.
“The Morrison Government’s decision to finally include Newcastle in the gap fee waiver is welcomed, but it means very little if the sector is left hanging out to dry,” Ms Claydon said.
“My office has received many emails and calls from concerned Newcastle parents and early learning centres alike who are worried about the long-term feasibility of the sector.”
Ms Claydon said she was aware that a lot of services are charging gap fees because they can’t afford to give up their income.
Providers are being put in a no-win position, having to choose between either:
- Waiving gap fees for families, and taking such a hit to their revenue that they are at risk of closing their doors, leaving early educators without work and essential workers without care for their children; or
- Not waiving gap fees for families, leaving parents upset that they have to pay for a service they cannot access, and risking them un-enrolling altogether.
“Many providers are being forced to charge parents full fees because the Morrison Government is refusing to offer replacement revenue to child care centres.”
“The Morrison Government needs to ensure families are not left out of pocket during lockdowns for child care they cannot access, because they are doing the right thing and staying home.”
“There are many providers who are struggling to stay afloat because they’re ineligible for other business support payments.”
“In order for centres to waive the gap fee, the Morrison Government must provide a support package to early learning centres similar to the one implemented in Victoria last year.”
During the prolonged Victorian lockdown last year, the Morrison Government introduced a financial support package for early learning services that allowed them to stay open to serve essential workers, while also waiving gap fees for families, and surviving from lower attendance levels.
“It would be truly devastating for Newcastle families and our local economy to see the collapse of the early learning sector.”
“It’s crucial that the Morrison Government acts urgently and provides a support package to early learning centres in our region to keep workers in a job and our local economy afloat.”