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Federal government pulls plug on free childcare

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The federal government has announced free childcare and JobKeeper for the sector will end next month.

Childcare fees will resume from July 13 and JobKeeper for the sector will cease from July 20.

Childcare services will instead get a transition payment of 25% of their fee revenue until the end of September.

The government had announced temporary free childcare during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

Education Minister Dan Tehan told Deborah Knight the package is designed to increase the offering of childcare for parents who are heading back to work.

He argued those who have little or no work to return to wouldn’t be disadvantaged due to subsidies available.

“Out of pocket costs were less than $5 per hour for 72.4 per cent of children in centre-based care under the old system.

“If they do have reduced hours, or less work, those costs obviously come down. ”

Mr Tehan defended the removal of the JobKeeper safety net following the Prime Minister’s assurances on Friday, saying the decision was made in consultation with the sector.

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Early Learning Association of Australia CEO David Worland argued the decision to revert back to the old system will have a net negative impact on families, blaming its lack of responsiveness in times of crisis.

“In general we welcome the idea that we do need some additional financial support for providers as occupancy levels increase, but it’s clearly not good news … for parents,” he told Deborah Knight.

“The inability to access affordable childcare could in fact protract our recovery from the recession.”

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Image: Nine News Australia