The NSW Nationals in the state government have welcomed a new support package announced by the Commonwealth for early childhood education services.
Nationals Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning Sarah Mitchell said the sector was in desperate need of support given the significant impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on services.
“The NSW Government has been in constant consultation with the sector regarding the support they need, and I have made multiple representations to the Federal Government on their behalf,” Ms Mitchell said.
“I am happy to see early childhood education and care services in NSW receive similar support from the Federal Government as to what was offered to Victoria last year.”
The NSW Nationals in the federal government package will be accessible to services in Commonwealth-declared hotspots, which will be eligible for payments of 25 per cent of their pre-lockdown revenue. Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) services will be eligible for payments of 40 per cent.
Payments will be contingent on services:
• expecting attendance below 50 per cent
• waiving gap fees for all families whose children are not attending
• maintaining staffing levels
• agreeing to a fee freeze for the duration of support
• not accessing other Commonwealth Government funded supports
This support is in addition to previously-announced gap fee waivers and additional allowable absences.
The NSW Nationals in the state government have placed a moratorium on licence fees for OSHC services on government school sites and continue to offer the COVID-19 free preschool funding program.
“We will continue working with our childcare sector to ensure this Commonwealth package delivers the support they need to remain viable and continue delivering the essential services that so many parents and carers in NSW rely on,” Ms Mitchell said.
“I want to reiterate my sincere thanks and gratitude to the early childhood educators and support staff in NSW, who have really been the unsung heroes of this pandemic.”
The NSW Government is asking all parents to keep their children home from early childhood services where possible.