Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced that one million Australian families will have access to free child care.
The new child care system will begin on Sunday night, with priority given to working parents and vulnerable and disadvantaged children.
“If you have a job in this economy then that is an essential job, in my view, in terms of running of the economy and it is important that all of those parents who have children, that they get access to the childcare and those facilities will be there for them in the many months ahead,” Mr Morrison said.
“What we will be doing is we will be ensuring for those parents who are still in that position where they are needing that childcare, it will be free.”
The Government is also providing support for 13,000 child care centres to ensure they can continue to operate.
“We will be putting in place support arrangements to childcare facilities, some 13,000 of them, to ensure they remain open and be there for their parents to ensure they can do what they need to do each day. Like it is essential that the schools out there, they can take the schools they need to take each day from those same parents so we can continue running Australia each and every day.”
“Priority will be given to working parents, vulnerable and disadvantaged children that need early education more than ever and parents with pre-existing enrolments.”
Education Minister Dan Tehan said all child care facilities have been asked to finalise existing fees by Sunday night before that system is “turned off”, and then the Government will make fortnightly direct payments to centres.
“Under the plan, the Government will pay 50 per cent of the sector’s fee revenue up to the existing hourly rate cap based on a point in time before parents started withdrawing their children in large numbers, but only so long as services remain open and do not charge families for care,” Mr Morrison said in a statement. “The funding will apply from 6 April based on the number of children who were in care during the fortnight leading into 2 March, whether or not they are attending services.”
“The hope is that now all parents who need will get the care they want.”
The new system will see payments start flowing at the end of next week. The system will be reviewed after one month, with an extension to be considered after three months. The payments will be paid in lieu of the Child Care (CCS) and Additional Child Care Subsidy payments.
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