Parents face struggle as fee-free childcare ends

 

Parents struggling financially will be forced to make tough decisions as the Morrison Government's fee-free childcare ends on Monday.

Early education providers cut off from the JobKeeper payment will receive a transition payment worth $708 million for all services until September 30.

As fee structures under the former Child Care Subsidy arrangement resume on Monday, Education Minister Dan Tehan maintains parents will be supported with fee-freezes and a relaxing of the activity test.

But Labor early education spokeswoman Amanda Rishworth said the changes were coming into effect when families needed support the most.

Amanda Rishworth says there is extra support for providers but there’s no extra support for families having to pay childcare fees again. Picture Kym Smith
Amanda Rishworth says there is extra support for providers but there’s no extra support for families having to pay childcare fees again. Picture Kym Smith

"Many parents are really doing it tough and are going to have to make the difficult decision tomorrow of whether they pay the exorbitant child care fees or look at pulling their children out of care all together," she said on Sunday.

"Parents that are on JobKeeper for example, are hoping that their jobs will come back in September, October, November, December, and are not able to pay child care fees.

"But (they) are not wanting to withdraw their children from care in case they get the opportunity to go back to work."

Ms Rishworth warned the consequences could be a handbrake on the nation's economic recovery.

Parents on JobSeeker automatically qualify for 72 hours of subsidised care, while families whose employment has been affected by COVID-19 will receive up to 100 hours of care a fortnight.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison previously said it was not feasible to continue the fee-free childcare package going.


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