The Morrison Government will provide additional support for families affected by the floods in south-east Queensland and New South Wales by allowing child care services to waive gap fees for parents keeping their children at home where impacted services have closed.
More than 1,000 child care services have had to temporarily close this week in Queensland and NSW because of the floods.
From 23 February, child care centres in Local Government Areas (LGAs) where a Local Area Emergency (LAE) has been declared because of flooding can waive gap fees for the duration of the LAE.
The gap fee is the difference between the Child Care Subsidy (CCS) the Commonwealth Government pays to a service and the remaining fee paid by the family.
Acting Minister for Education and Youth, Stuart Robert MP, said at this point there are about 290,000 families and more than 3,800 services in flood affected LGAs.
‘Where gap fees are waived, families will not have to pay any out-of-pocket costs for those days that their children cannot attend care,’ Minister Robert said.
‘This will make it easier on families while providing guaranteed revenue for closed services by ensuring they still receive the CCS,’
Minister Robert said the extra support follows consultation with the early childhood and education sector.
‘We’ve applied the same approach to allowing gap fees to be waived as we have for COVID-related reasons,’ Minister Robert said.
‘Families will also have access to additional allowable absences for the duration of the Local Area Emergency.
‘This means families don’t have to worry about using their allowable days of absence during the disruption caused by the floods, providing greater certainty to families.’
Minister for Regionalisation, Regional Communications and Regional Education, Senator Bridget McKenzie, urged flood-affected child care services to consider the Special Circumstance grant support.
‘Our Government stands shoulder to shoulder with communities who are battling the impacts of the flooding in NSW and Queensland’
‘Flood-affected services can apply for support through the CCCF Special Circumstances Grants program, where a Local Area Emergency has been declared,’ Minister McKenzie said.
‘Families rely on child care in order to support parents to work, train and study and we want to make sure these critical services stay viable and can be operational again as soon as possible.
‘This is particularly important in regional communities where access to child care centres may not be as readily available.’
Families experiencing a loss of income may also be eligible for support through the Additional Child Care Subsidy (temporary financial hardship).
As well, the Morrison Government has activated the Disaster Recovery Payment of $1000 per eligible adult and $400 per eligible child to support people in the floods.
The Disaster Recovery Payment is a one-off, non-means tested payment. The payment is available to eligible people in affected LGAs who have suffered a significant loss, including a severely damaged or destroyed home or serious injury.
For more information visit: www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/natural-disaster or call 180 22 66.
For more information on the targeted support available to child care providers, services and families in the event of a local emergency visit: www.dese.gov.au/child-care-package/ccp-resources-providers/help-emergency.