Child care sector still baffled by absent COVID plan and lack of safety access

Tasmanian Labor

The Gutwein Government is
still yet to come up with a clear and workable COVID safety plan for Tasmania’s
critical child care sector with limited and confusing information on
contingencies going forward.

Labor Leader Rebecca White
said the government was failing to provide understandable COVID-safe direction
about close contacts in child care, failing to outline a plan should parents
need to keep their children at home and failing to provide access to masks and
Rapid Antigen Tests.

“For weeks now child care
centres have been receiving confusing – even conflicting – information about
what to do now that the Premier has opened the borders to COVID,” Ms White
said.

“It is yet another clear
example of a government which told Tasmanians it had prepared for the border
reopening but clearly had not.

“The child care sector has not
been given adequate information about the definition of close contacts in their
centres.

“Child care sector workers
have no information or limited information about when RATs will become
available and with the constant stream of changing information, staff and
parents are confused.

“The government set the
reopening date for December 15 and should have had a clear plan in place then.
It’s astounding that more than a month later there still isn’t one.”

Shadow Education Minister Josh Willie
said the government had also failed to address those parents who might need to
take their children out of child care in the event of a COVID outbreak.

“Some parents may have the means to
do that but certainly not all parents,” Mr Willie said.

“Working parents who may be casual
workers might not have that opportunity and they will need to make alternative
arrangements or be forced to keep their kids in care until they become a close
contact or even catch COVID.

“They will be effectively forced to leave their child in that environment because they will not be able to access the COVID isolation payments unless their child becomes a close contact.”

Rebecca White MP

Labor Leader

Josh Willie MLC

Shadow Minister for Education and Early Years

25 January 2022

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