21 May 2020

The Morrison Government’s child care policy in response to COVID-19 has been more harmful than helpful – that is the message childcare providers in Paterson and the Hunter had today in a video conference with Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education and Development, Amanda Rishworth MP, and Meryl Swanson MP, Member for Paterson.

The Government’s poorly designed and underfunded “free child care” policy during the COVID-19 crisis has left many providers struggling to keep their doors open, families without access to child care and early educators without jobs.

One child care centre said they had to stand down some educators, whilst at the same time turning families away.

“Today we heard from child care providers in my electorate of Paterson who were extremely frustrated with the Government’s thoughtless and underfunded free child care policy. It is ridiculous that providers have parents that can afford to pay their regular fee under the old scheme but aren’t allowed to and are missing out,” said Meryl Swanson MP.

Family day care businesses are also stressed and upset with the new rules. One family day care provider said that the Government has a “gross misunderstanding of how family day care operates.”

“It’s been really hard as a small business operator to have my income taken and managed by somebody else. Being considered an employee is a bit of a slap in the face and it’s made it really difficult to manage things,” the family day care provider said.

Families in Paterson need accessible and affordable child care as many continue to face financial strain, and providers are in need of certainty and support to continue the great job they’re doing in educating and caring for our children.

“Rather than doing the hard work and developing a system that actually delivers for parents and providers during these uncertain times, the Minister is now flagging a
snap back to their old child care system that was expensive and confusing for families,” said Shadow Minister Rishworth.

“An abrupt snap back to the old child care system will be a huge financial hit to families and may cause parents to un-enrol their children, which will continue to threaten the viability of providers,” said Shadow Minister Rishworth.

“Early education is a pivotal part of our economy and needs to be recognised as such. The Government must properly fund and implement a system that delivers affordable and accessible child care, meets demand and keeps providers in Paterson viable,” said Meryl Swanson MP.