Fee waiver for childcare gap payments ‘not perfect solution’, says Mayor Waller

Liverpool City Council is urging the NSW Government to provide financial support for Local Government Early Childhood providers following recent changes to childcare fees leaving many Councils across the state thousands of dollars out of pocket.

In response to changing childcare fee arrangements by the Federal Government, Council today announced it would waive fees for parents who choose to keep their children home during the stay-at-home order. This took effect from Monday 19 July and will continue until the stay-at-home order ends (at least until 11:59pm on Friday 30 July).

Mayor of Liverpool Wendy Waller applauded the measures which would help ease the cost burden on families. However, Mayor Waller said these measures weren’t a perfect solution with Liverpool Council losing approximately $58,000 per week due to increased absenteeism at its centres.

“During this difficult time, families are dealing with many competing pressures, economic or otherwise. We are delighted to pass on these cost savings to families who aren’t using our services and may have experienced a decline in income throughout the current stay-at-home order.

“At the same time, we believe these measures should be balanced with financial support for Council-run early childhood education and care providers who may struggle because of this arrangement and are not currently eligible for any government business support grants – which some private providers may be eligible for.

“Our Early Education and Care Centres and Pre-School remain open for those who need to leave home for work. However, we are pleased to see parents are heeding the advice of NSW Health and keeping their children home especially in Liverpool, Fairfield and Canterbury Bankstown Local Government Areas. We currently have 29 per cent attendance in our centres.”

Liverpool City Council has added its voice to Local Government NSW (LGNSW), early childhood peak bodies, unions, and advisory groups advocating for financial assistance from the NSW Government for Local Government Early Childhood providers.

“All of our six Early Education and Care Centres and Pre-School exceed national standards. Financial support from the NSW Government would ensure we are able to maintain the quality of service we have become known for during this time and well into the post-COVID period,” Mayor Waller said.

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