Media Release: Northern Rivers Early Learning Sector Criticises Government's Childcare "Snap-back"

11.19am | July 01, 2020










North Coast families and the early learning sector have been left gutted by the Liberal National Government’s decision to “snap-back” to the old childcare system while the COVID-19 pandemic continues to grip our nation.


This feedback comes after Senator Jenny McAllister and Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education Amanda Rishworth MP met with representatives from childcare centres and educators across the Northern Rivers today.


The Government recently announced they will be snapping back to their old child care system in the middle of a recession, without any support to reduce out of pocket costs for families.


Before the pandemic, child care was already expensive and for many families, inaccessible. Late last year we saw child care fees in the Richmond Valley had increased by 6.6% from the year before, and 6.2% in the Clarence Valley.


Now in the middle of a recession, when many parents have lost their jobs or hours of work, these out of pocket child care costs will be out of reach for many. If fees are too expensive and families withdraw their children from care all together, it will be terrible for children who miss out on an early education, parents who can no longer work, and early educators and providers who will experience a drop in demand.


The electorate of Page has seen the one of the highest rates of job losses in the country, with many families struggling to pay bills, put food on the table and, now, pay child care fees.


The Government also ended JobKeeper for the early learning sector, leaving early educators’ with great uncertainty about the security of their work.


This sector employs hundreds of people across Northern NSW and plays an essential role in the community.


Senator McAllister said the Government’s decision to abandon the child care sector will disproportionately affect women, as many mums will be unable to return to work due to childcare costs.


“Labor is deeply concerned about the Government’s response to early childhood education and from what we’ve heard today,  this concern has been mirrored throughout the Northern Rivers community.”


Early childhood educators have spoken up about their experiences.


Brooke Parker, Director of the Casino Baptist Church Christian Community Pre-school said, “early child care educators have been on the frontline supporting our community during the COVID-19 crisis. And how does the Government repay us? At the earliest possible opportunity, they withdraw vital support.”


“We will see the negative impacts of the Government's treatment of the early childcare sector for years to come. Our funding and jobs depend on children returning to care, but in this climate, families will simply not be able to afford it.”


Tuesday, 30 June 2020