With more than 450 early learning services closed across Queensland and northern NSW due to catastrophic flooding, the Federal Government has instructed services that they must continue to charge parents gap fees even when they’re closed.
“The Federal Government has ignored urgent calls for financial assistance for parents and early learning providers at this time of need. Families and early educators who are already struggling with the catastrophic conditions are left standing in the rain,” The Parenthood Executive Director, Georgie Dent, said.
“Parents should not have to pay full fees when their child’s early learning service literally cannot open because it has been flooded. Similarly early learning providers should not be forced by the government to charge families the full fees in these circumstances.”
The Parenthood is calling on the Education Minister Stuart Robert to support parents in Queensland and north NSW by enabling early learning providers to waive gap fees for parents and still collect the child care subsidy. It also calls on the Federal Government to deliver direct funding to services to cover waived gap fees and help providers pay their hardworking educators and remain sustainable.
“Thousands of families have been significantly impacted by the floods. Families and educators have lost their homes, their businesses, their belongings. It is not appropriate in this crisis for parents to have to pay for child care they cannot even use," Ms Dent said.