Childcare's perfect storm
Childcare operators are facing a triple-whammy of challenges in coming weeks, with concerns the return of fees today will force some families to pull children out.
After more than six weeks of the Federal Government covering all fees, families are again liable for care, although they'll be eligible for subsidies under the previous complex federal system.
The Tasmanian President of Early Childhood Australia, Ros Cornish, says they're also losing the childcare-specific Jobkeeper payments next week.
"Many families would be impacted by the pandemic in terms of loss of hours or loss of jobs, worst case scenario," said Ms Cornish, who is also the CEO of major not-for-profit operator Lady Gowrie Tasmania.
"And then come September when Jobkeeper ceases for the broader community, the impact that will have on us as a childcare sector will be interesting."
Tasmania's Opposition is also concerned at the impact.
"Without access to affordable care, it will also hurt the economy because of the barriers to workforce participation," said Elwick Legislative Councillor Josh Wilie.
"With JobKeeper payments for childcare workers also to be wound back, the industry may struggle to remain viable."
Ms Cornish says the impact on regional childcare in Tasmania has been especially severe.
"We have some services on the East Coast, and that's totally reliant on tourism and hospitality, and without the borders open - and we support the borders being closed, please don't get me wrong - but until we have tourists back, the utilisation in those centres is very low."