LOCKDOWN CHILDCARE SHOCK: CENTRELINK BILLS DRIVE EXTRA STRESS FOR SYDNEY PARENTS – MORATORIUM NEEDED URGENTLY
Reports of Sydney families being hit with Centrelink bills saying they owe thousands of dollars because they were paid too much childcare subsidy are causing stress and anxiety to skyrocket during an already difficult time for young families, The Parenthood says. Parents and families deserve a moratorium on notices and a review to guarantee people are not unfairly out of pocket.
Georgie Dent, Executive Director of the Parenthood, said this unfair burden came at a time where mums and dads need the government’s support more than ever.
“Many parents of young children have lost their jobs and they are under extreme financial pressure from the lockdown. They are just looking at getting through the next week, day by day. To receive an unexpected bill for thousands of dollars for a service that should be affordable is unfathomably cruel,” she said.
“There should be a moratorium on sending out notices and the need for re-payments during this difficult lockdown. We also need a review of systems and processes to better calculate the gap payment and avoid families being left unfairly out of pocket,” Ms Dent said.
“Early learning and child care costs are the highest they have ever been and parents are being told that they still have more to pay? It’s just not sustainable.”
Parents and carers in Australia have already experienced a 10% surge in out of pocket costs for early learning and care in just two years. The Parenthood has called on the Prime Minister and the Education Minister to provide Commonwealth financial assistance during the Sydney lockdown to enable providers to be able to continue funding the fee waiver.
“This is a clear indicator of a system that doesn’t work. We need total reform. We need universal access to affordable, high quality early learning and childcare. Penalising young mums and dads during their most financially difficult times will not work.
“We encourage the Federal Government to have a fundamental rethink of early childhood education and care in this country and we ask all State Premiers to take their concerns for the young families in their states to National Cabinet.”