Cth extends gap fee waivers for Covid-affected childcare centres

The Federal Government is allowing childcare centres in any area declared a Covid-19 hotspot for more than seven days to waive gap fees.

In line with new arrangements introduced on 19 July, council-run early childhood education and care services affected by recent stay-at-home orders can opt-in to waive gap fees to parents to try to remain financially viable

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

Childcare centres run by local governments were heavily impacted by the Federal Government’s decision in 2020 to exclude councils from the JobKeeper package, and many continue to struggle, despite the gap-fee waiver.

ALGA President Linda Scott has written to the Federal Government seeking urgent financial support for council-run early childhood education and care (ECEC) services whose viability is threatened by NSW stay-at-home orders and Commonwealth decisions on funding arrangements.

Former SA Premier Jay Weatherall has added his voice to calls for federal government support to keep early learning providers open and viable.

Mr Weatherill, who is now the CEO of the Minderoo Foundation’s Thrive by Five initiative, said: “The government must help providers make it through the pandemic so when we’re ready to safely open up our schools and businesses, our early learning sector is there to support parents and our economy.”