Daycare centres look to future as free childcare ends
DESPITE free childcare coming to an end this week, local childcare worker Cheryl Klose remains optimistic about the future.
While the scheme provided a great deal of security to childcare operators and staff during a time of fear and uncertainty, Ms Klose says that Kingaroy Early Learning Centre is ready for the next step.
“We’ve been keeping parents in the loop with what’s going on and where we are at in terms of what’s happening within the government. So, I think we’re in a good spot to do this transition at the moment,” she said.
From Wednesday, parents went back to paying the gap of a partial government subsidy, in a move that has received mixed reviews from childcare workers, parents, unions, and women’s work right advocates - who claim that childcare fees create a disadvantage for working mothers.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the free childcare scheme in early April, when the COVID-19 pandemic was at its peak nationwide.
The announcement was met with a sigh of relief by Ms Klose and her staff.
“I know that within the region, there were a lot of families that pulled their children out of childcare. And we had a few that pulled out, because they weren’t sure what was happening,” she said.
“So, knowing that we had that support - that we were still going to keep hours and that the pay rate was going to stay the same - gave the staff peace of mind.
“Knowing that we still had a job to go to at the end of the day.”
From July 20, childcare workers will be the first employees cut from the JobKeeper scheme.
The $1500-a-fortnight payments received by an estimated 120 000 childcare employees will be replaced with a $708 million transition package.
Ms Klose said she is confident that Kingaroy Early Learning Centre will continue receiving the support it needs.
“I know that JobKeeper is ending but the CCS is coming back, so that will provide additional support as well,” Ms Klose said.
“While I’m sure that the situation is not over yet, I think that the government has put in place measures to ensure that the services that are affected can continue to receive additional funding.”
“I think the government is doing the best they can in this situation.”