Why not every childcare service will benefit from package
MANY services have welcomed the announcement of the Early Childhood Education and Care Relief package made by the Government earlier this month, but the helping hand has come with some unintended consequences.
Australian Childcare Alliance Queensland general manager Brent Stokes said the rescue package meant centres would now receive a fixed income, which would be 50 per cent of what they were making in revenue the fortnight before March 1.
That would then make the majority of centres eligible for the JobKeeper package to help pay staff.
"That, in conjunction with the JobKeeper package and other business stimuli, should enable most services to keep their doors open, keep their lights on and keep their educators paid," Mr Stokes said.
"For the vast majority, that's what it does do.
"It's basically the lifeline that secures the sector from pending closure and not knowing whether we would reopen."
The payment is only for services who remain open and do not charge families for care.
"Where we've got some challenges is around the people who don't qualify for the JobKeeper package.
"If they didn't lose any families, then they have some complications there because their occupancy is quite well maintained but their revenue has diminished somewhat.
"We're keen to keep our dialogue open with the Government to work through those challenges."
Member for Blair Shayne Neumann said he has been inundated with emails and messages about the issue.
"While the Government acted in early April to prevent collapsing in enrolments … an unintended consequence of this policy was many of the centres, the services have been stripped of their income and their viability is now at risk," he said.
"If your revenue has been cut by more than 50 per cent, as many have, they're not going to be in a position long term to continue providing a service. I've had people locally tell me they've lost up to $16,000 a week.
"Services are now potentially cutting back on hours, turning away families and sacking educators just to survive. Some of it has been saved, but unintended consequences mean other parts have been gutted."
Mr Neumann has written to the minister and shadow minister about the issue.
Read more stories from Paige Ashby.