The Australian Government will provide immediate support to families and early childhood education and care services impacted by flooding in NSW.
The emergency support and services will be available to families in the 23 LGAs that have been declared natural disaster areas in NSW. The Department of Education will monitor closely and extend to new areas if required.
The support means:
- Services can waive gap fees for children not attending care during an emergency including when the service is closed
- Families will receive additional paid absences for the duration of the emergency so they don’t use up their annual allocation.
These emergency measures were first introduced during floods in NSW and south east Queensland earlier this year and required Ministerial approval.
The Minister for Education Jason Clare last month changed the way these measures are triggered so that they occur automatically when there is a widespread emergency that may prevent children accessing care. Parents and child care centres now won’t have to wait for Ministerial sign off.
The increasing frequency and severity of natural disasters highlights the need to make these measures available on an ongoing basis.
The measures will provide fee relief for families and help keep children enrolled.
This builds on the Minister for Education’s decision to extend COVID support for families and child care centres for another year to 30 June 2023 and the additional 10 paid absences this year.
QUOTES ATTRIBUTABLE TO MINISTER FOR EDUCATION, JASON CLARE:
It’s common sense to make these measures automatic. The last thing people want to worry about at the moment are childcare payments. This support will help families in a practical way when they need it most.
QUOTES ATTRIBUTABLE TO MINISTER FOR EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT, SENATOR MURRAY WATT:
This is part of a range of measures available to people during flood disasters.
The Australian Government stands ready to help impacted communities, and that includes removing some of the stress and financial burden families may be experiencing when it comes to child care arrangements.
QUOTES ATTRIBUTABLE TO MINISTER FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION, DR ANNE ALY:
We understand the value of early childhood education, how important it is for the children and for their families. That’s why we’ve implemented these measures that will keep children enrolled and engaged in childcare and early learning.