The Morrison Government is working with state and territory governments and the child care sector to minimise the impact of COVID-19.
The health and safety of all Australians is our number one priority, and that includes the 1.3 million children in child care, and 200,000 staff working in the child care sector.
State and territory health authorities are responsible for wider decisions which may affect services. Services should respond to advice from their state or territory health authority on all matters related to COVID-19, which will be informed by the advice of Australia’s Chief Medical Officer.
All education ministers discussed supporting early childhood education on a Ministerial hook-up two weeks ago. Officials continue to liaise on a weekly basis.
Organisations representing the child care sector wrote to the Federal Government on 10 March setting out their priorities.
Grants are available for child care providers through the $14 million Community Child Care Special Circumstances Fund to help cover business costs, including wages, to ensure services impacted by COVID-19 can continue to operate.
Minister for Education Dan Tehan said the Government was working with the sector and state and territory authorities to prepare for any contingencies.
“Our $14 million Community Child Care Special Circumstances Fund can be accessed to help cover business costs, including wages, to ensure services impacted by COVID-19 can continue to operate,” Mr Tehan said.
“Applications for less than $10,000 are typically processed within four working days, and we have implemented streamlined processes to assist services seeking larger grants.
“Families receiving the Child Care Subsidy can use up to 42 absence days per child, per financial year, for any reason without requiring supporting evidence — which would cover those in self-isolation.
“Where the 42 days have been used, additional absences are available due to being ill from COVID-19 or where self-isolation is supported by a medical certificate.
“Families experiencing a loss of income, such as casual workers or those in self-isolation, may be eligible for the Additional Child Care Subsidy (temporary financial hardship). This subsidy is available for up to 13 weeks and, in most cases, the full cost of child care will be covered.”
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. Families of healthy children can continue to access Australia’s child care services.
Child care services are encouraged to contact the 24/7 National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080 which provides health and situation information on the COVID-19 outbreak.
Up-to-date information is available on the department’s website to assist providers and services with managing the impacts on their businesses. They can also contact the Child Care Subsidy Helpdesk at CCShelpdesk@dese.gov.au or on 1300 667 276 for information.
Information is also available on the department’s website at https://www.dese.gov.au/news/coronavirus-covid-19