Free Childcare for Working Parents During Covid-19 Crisis

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Amazing news for essential worker parents! 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced a free childcare program for Australian parents during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Mr Morrison said those parents who needed to physically be at work should have somewhere that can take care of their children.

"If you have a job in this economy then that is an essential job," he said. "It is important that all of those parents who have children, that they get access to childcare and those facilities will be there for them."

So whether you're a nurse or a doctor, a teacher, supermarket worker, a public servant - anyone who is still working is considered an essential worker.

Vulnerable children who need that continuity of care will also be included. It is not means tested. 

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. So, even if you have taken your child out of care, so long as they are still enrolled, your fees will be covered.

Education Minister Dan Tehan said the $1.6 billion temporary overhaul will start as soon as Sunday night.

"It will be a system which will mean parents will get their children cared for for free," he said. "You do not have to worry about trying to look for new care for your children."

The Fight To Keep Childcares Open

Mr Tehan said 60 per cent of the costs of a childcare centre were wages, with many centres fearing they will have to shut down because of the absence of children attending. If childcare centres are forced to close their doors, this could lead to a massive loss to Australia’s workforce and economy.

Mr Tehan said the only conditions for childcare centres to receive the payments were that the childcare centre must remain open and must provide care for those parents who need their children cared for.

"They must also seek to re-enrol those parents who might have dropped off," he said.

The new system will see payments begin on April 6 and will be reviewed after one month, with an extension to be considered after three months.

Are Childcare Centres Safe?

Australian centres have dramatically increased hygiene standards, making children wash their hands frequently, encouraging good hygiene behaviours, washing down equipment and surfaces, and reducing children's time outdoors.

Experts admit that they're unsure whether closing childcare centres would "flatten the curve" but that mitigating efforts are our best line of defence right now.

Parents who are unsure about sending their child to child care for possible COVID-19 related reasons, should contact the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080 for advice.

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