Extension of the Covid Safety Net Good News for Early Learning

Media release

24 June 2022

The Early Learning and Care Council of Australia (ELACCA) welcomes the Australian Government’s extension of COVID-19 support measures for families and early learning and care services.

‘This is a very good decision,’ said ELACCA CEO Elizabeth Death. ‘The new government is extending the safety net for families and early learning and care services as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. We thank Minister Clare and Minister Aly for their support.’

The extended measures will provide families with an additional 10 days of allowable absences in the 2022-23 financial year, so that children affected by COVID can stay home without missing out on Child Care Subsidy payments.

The COVID safety net also enables early learning and care services to waive the ‘gap fee’ charged to families, including when a service is closed or partly closed due to staff illness.

‘Unfortunately, the pandemic is far from over,’ Ms Death said. ‘Families and early learning and care services will struggle with COVID infections and isolation periods throughout the winter of 2022.

‘Until we have a COVID-19 vaccine for children under five years old, early learning and care services will remain sites of transmission, for children and adults.

‘Our sector has made tremendous efforts to keep children engaged in learning, and to provide consistency of education and care outside the home, throughout a very difficult couple of years. We remain committed to that effort, but we do need support from governments to keep delivering for children and families.’