NSW families received a nice little COVID-19 boost on Thursday morning when Premier Gladys Berejiklian made a commitment that the NSW government would pick up half the cost of childcare run by local governments, filling a gap in last week’s Federal Government Childcare package detailed below.

Under the Premier’s package, preschool in NSW will be free for the next six months to assist households doing it tough amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’m pleased to announce the New South Wales government will be providing free preschool for parents over the next six months,” she said.

“That will be at a cost of $50 million but we’re pleased to do this because we know that household budgets are under pressure, families are under pressure.

“But to match what the Federal Government has done in child care centres … we’re stepping up and paying the other half.

“That means child care centres run by local governments don’t have to worry about the additional cost of keeping staff on and providing the vital services. That will cost us $82 million.”

On Thursday, April 2nd Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a free childcare program for working Australian parents to use during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Morrison stated that those parents who needed to physically be at a workplace should have somewhere safe that can take care of their children, and a $1.6 billion temporary overhaul to existing policies, including eliminating the means test will help keep childcare centres doors open and people in jobs.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a $1.6 billion temporary package to allow working Australians free childcare during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If you have a job in this economy then that is an essential job, in my view, in terms of running of the economy and it is important that all of those parents who have children, that they get access to child care and those facilities will be there for them in the many months ahead,” he said.

“What we will be doing is we will be ensuring for those parents who are still in that position where they are needing that childcare, it will be free.

“We will be putting in place support arrangements to childcare facilities, some 13,000 of them, to ensure they remain open and be there for their parents to ensure they can do what they need to do each day.”

Who will have access to free childcare?

While ultimately centres decide who will get the places, Mr Morrison said that childcare centres should “prioritise obviously those who need their children cared for because they are working”.

“And working where they can’t care for their children safely at home. For them to prioritise as well vulnerable children who need that continuity of care as well,” he said.

“And then to re-engage with those parents who have taken their children out of care to see whether they can be accommodated as necessary as well, but there is a clear priority list that we want centres to take into account.

“The most important of those are those essential workers and the vulnerable children.”

Childcare centre

Childcare centres must stay open, and now, with the Government program they will be able to keep assisting Aussie families to have access childcare.

Education Minister Dan Tehan announced that program will begin from Sunday night and payments will be backdated to March 23. Existing means testing for childcare rebates will not apply for the duration of the pandemic.

“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.”

All childcare centres will have access to the funding to keep their doors open, with the only criteria 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,” said Mr Tehan.

In addition to the fee assistance, Mr Tehan said 60 percent of the costs of a childcare centre were wages, and the JobKeeper subsidy will provide support the sector “to the tune of over $1 billion”.

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