Federal Member for Bendigo, Lisa Chesters is calling on the Federal Government to provide urgent support to our local early learning sector.
“I’ve spoken with childcare providers across Central Victoria who are pleading for urgent support.
“The viability of centres is under threat because of plummeting attendance and enrolment rates during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
More and more parents are pulling their children out of child care - with Goodstart Early Learning, a major provider of early education and care in Central Victoria, reporting 1 in 3 children not attending.
Without support from the Federal Government, rapidly declining enrolment could force many centres to permanently close. This will leave families without child care, early educators and directors without a job, and providers without a business.
Darren Reid, Managing Director of Jenny’s Early Learning said their focus is on staying open, offering discounted rates for those who plan absences to keep families enrolled.
“We are doing everything we can to stay viable, if we want to survive on the other side of the pandemic we need assistance for ourselves and our families.
“If the government waived the requirement to charge a gap fee to families in order to receive the child care subsidy, we would have a better chance to maintain enrolments and stay open,” Reid said.
“Currently, we would be more financially viable to be forced to close than to continue operating – this is an extremely worrying prospect.”
Jenny’s Early Learning and GoodStart Early Learning care for many children whose parents are nurses, aged care workers, retail staff and other essential employees who need to keep working.
“So far the Prime Minister’s response that a ‘plan is still being developed’ is just not good enough,” Chesters said.
“Every day that passes brings the sector closer to collapse. The Government must act urgently and provide adequate support to ensure the early learning sector can survive this challenging time,” Chesters said.
Early learning providers are calling for urgent action - their sector is on the brink of collapse.