The Greens have said that returning to expensive fee-paying childcare today will harm families, disproportionately impact women and threaten the viability of early learning as the Covid-19 pandemic continues.
The federal government should extend free childcare and ensure all early childhood education and care workers are eligible for JobKeeper payments.
Senator Mehreen Faruqi, Australian Greens spokesperson for Education, said:
“It’s downright cruel and shortsighted to scrap free childcare before practically every other Covid-19 support measure.
“Reverting to expensive, fee-paying childcare now will preclude struggling families from accessing early learning and put centre viability at risk. This government is failing women who will disproportionately feel the impact of this senseless snap back.
“As Covid-19 cases continue to rise, Dan Tehan should extend free childcare and ensure JobKeeper eligibility for all ECEC workers.
“It’s incredibly disappointing that the first sector to have its support withdrawn is early learning, and the first workers to lose JobKeeper are ECEC staff - the vast majority of whom are women. They have been treated very poorly by this government.
“This is a real missed opportunity to reimagine early learning as a universal, essential service. Instead, the Liberals are more interested in deepening the crisis via austerity,” she said.
Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens spokesperson for Women, said:
“The Morrison government has a 1950s attitude to women and its policies will condemn more women to the kitchen.
“Numerous reports show that women are suffering the worst economic impacts from coronavirus, losing more jobs or hours of work than men, and performing a much higher care load.
“Free childcare helped ease the financial burden families face and ensured women had more ability to do paid work.
“Returning to expensive childcare, and axing JobKeeper early for childcare workers, will force many women to reduce their work hours to juggle childcare.
“You want economic stimulus, then help women return to the workplace by making childcare permanently free.”