Confusion over govt support for council-run childcare centres

NSW childcare providers are being offered federal financial support to waive gap fees for parents keeping their children home because of Covid restrictions.

The gap fee is the difference between the Child Care Subsidy (CCS) the federal government pays to a service and the remaining fee paid by the family.

From Monday, July 19, childcare centres in NSW local government areas subject to stay-at-home orders can waive gap fees on the days that parents choose to keep their children at home.

However, there are concerns council-run early childhood and care centres that waive the fee will face a financial impost.

This is because the gap fee typically covers only between 15 percent and 80 percent of a service’s payments.

In addition, it is unclear if NSW state government grants designed to help Covid-affected businesses will be accessible by council-run services.

Local Government NSW has written to Premier Gladys Berejiklian seeking clarification on whether council-run centres opting into the federal support program can receive state government assistance to ensure they are not financially worse off.

In other related news, 385 childcare providers in regional, remote and disadvantaged communities will share $100 million in funding from the Community Child Care Fund.

The CCCF Open Competitive Grant scheme is intended to help improve access to care, boost the number of available places, and increase workforce participation.

Federal Education and Youth Minister Alan Tudge said on Friday that some remote areas had only one or two childcare services operating, and it was critical these be kept open or expanded so families could access the care they needed.

“It will also help achieve our Closing the Gap targets by increasing participation of Indigenous children in early childhood education and care,” he said

Nearly 2000 applications from 962 childcare service providers were received in Round 3 of the CCCF open competitive grant process.