Change the Early Childhood Relief Package to Support the ECEC Sector

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The united Early Childhood Education and Care sector requests your URGENT assistance to ensure Early Childhood Education and Care remains viable and means tested. Families that continue to earn an income should pay a fee proportionate to their income. 

Educators are on the frontline in this war against COVID-19. We are being asked every day to risk our lives in order to stay open and support the children of essential workers. As a united voice we argue that any minister that takes money from the frontline soldiers in this war on COVID-19 is un-Australian. 

The 'Child Care Relief Package' is not targeted, appropriate or equitable. It is a poorly thought out reaction to gain popularity amongst working families. We understand that it was written without consultation from any operators from within our sector. If this policy is allowed to pass through parliament it will mean that each service will need to subsidise the care for families from their own pocket. This will have a significant financial impact on our services and our ability to stay open. 

Long Day Care Centres would urge you to consider the following:

- Child Care fees continue to be means tested

- Families who continue to work from home and earn an income should pay a fee proportionate to their income. 

- Those families who choose to self isolate should still be entitled to the CCS but to have their gap fee waived. 

- 100% eligibility for JobKeepers 

Family Day Cares would ask you to consider the following: 

- For Family Day Care to be considered as a separate entity and an appropriate support system in place for those educators who support over 170 000 Australian children developed in collaboration with representatives from the FDC sector. 

Community Run Preschools would like you to consider: 

- For the Start Strong Funding to be doubled

- Advocate for no fees for the next six months 

- 100% eligibility for JobKeepers

Outside School Hours Care are urging you to consider:

- additional funding to assist with loss of fees. 

In Home Care would like you to consider the following:

- In Home Care Educators should be funded to continue to support healthcare workers during non-standard hours of care, for whom care should be free;

-In Home Care Educators should be funded to continue to support vulnerable and disadvantaged Australians, which make up 90% of the people accessing the services, where gap fees could remain payable; 

- Allow In Home Care to access our 3,200 place allocation, which has already been budgeted for, so that we can continue to support healthcare workers and vulnerable Australians at this challenging time

To expect services to operate on a maximum of 50% of their revenue and provide quality education and care, let alone food, nappies, wipes, PPE and cleaning products, and keep their staff (who may or may not be eligible for the JobKeeper package) is outrageous. The new scheme will result in the demise of many viable early childhood services. 

We implore you to reconsider this package. It is not the solution that services were hoping for in these unprecedented circumstances and will have the opposite effect of what the government was hoping for.