Fears for childcare cost, jobs
ACCESS to childcare services could be closed off to more families and fees are likely to rise once free childcare ends on Monday, it has been claimed.
Advocates for early childhood education say if the federal government does not intervene with a new funding model, the sector will see widespread shutdowns and possible fee rises as services try to recoup losses.
The federal government’s temporary free childcare program, paying half the operating costs to providers, was a crisis response to help prop up the sector when COVID-19 hit.
It was embraced by the parents of more than 1.3 million children who attend early learning services.
Under the new system parents will be asked to pay gap fees again, even though many are on reduced hours or JobKeeper payments.
Member for Corangamite Libby Coker said she was concerned about what this would mean for childcare workers across the Geelong, Bellarine and Surf Coast region.
“Out-of-pocket childcare costs were already crippling families pre-pandemic … ,” Ms Coker said.
“If families pull out of childcare, then providers will scale back their places and reduce the hours of staff or, worse still, make many workers redundant.”