20 September 2020
ELACCA welcomes support for early learning and care in Victoria as the sector hopes for recovery:
Ongoing government support for Victorian early learning and care services, including outside school hours care services, will safeguard the sector as it emerges from COVID-19 restrictions.
The Early Learning and Care Council of Australia (ELACCA) welcomes today’s announcement by the Australian Government that a new recovery payment will apply in Victoria until 31 January 2021, enabling early learning and care services to catch up with the rest of Australia.
“Experts note that the extensive lockdown in Melbourne, and the ripple effects throughout Victoria, will continue to affect the economy for some time. To have the Victorian early learning and care sector supported over the next few months is a critical element of the economic recovery,” said ELACCA CEO, Elizabeth Death.
“ELACCA also welcomes the extension of the easing of the activity test until 4 April 2021 which will support access to early learning for children whose families have lost income or hours of work due to the pandemic.”
“We want young children and their families to have ongoing access to viable, high-quality education and care as Australia emerges from the pandemic and the recession,” Ms Death said.
“We think the activity test easing will be required until at least April – and probably further into 2021,” she said.
“There are also additional steps the government could take to support families and children, such as increasing the Child Care Subsidy and allowing extra preschool hours for children starting school next year. These merit serious consideration ahead of the Federal Budget.”
ELACCA notes that early learning and care services outside Victoria will return to the pre-COVID funding system on 28 September.
“We very much hope that further outbreaks of COVID-19 can be avoided, but we need to prepare for the worst. ELACCA urges all governments to be prepared to act swiftly to support the early learning and care sector, in ‘hot spots’ or entire regions, should the need arise,” said Ms Death.
ELACCA will continue to work cooperatively with the government to ensure that early learning and care services remain viable and accessible for Australian families. Ends