Early Childhood Services and OOSH Centers fear they may never recover from the coronavirus crisis as 4 out of 5 services are on the brink of collapse and both sectors told they have to wait for financial relief from the government with they are forced to shut down.
Mass closures are starting to take place in both Early Childhood and OOSH Centres as parents begin to pull children out to keep them at home and refuse to pay fees as they lose their jobs as well.
Early Learning and Care Council of Australia chief executive Elizabeth Death said “More than 80 per cent of Australia’s early learning and care services are facing closure in the very near future and Australia wide we are looking at the potential of 150,000 job losses across the sector. Many of the hundreds of services that will close will not reopen and there is the potential of a critical shortfall in services and places for the 845,000 children who are currently enrolled in Australia wide, not to mention the job losses".
Chief executive of Out Of School Hours Care (OOSH), Pauline O'Kane, also said occupancies in that sector were now below 10 per cent, but it's providers were required to remain open until a government order that schools close. "We already have a huge workforce issue and we are now wondering if the sector will ever recover. We do need action now or else the support will be too late."
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said childcare was "one of the very sensitive areas" the government was working through. "Childcare centres are an essential part of keeping the economy running for those who are still part of it," he said. "We haven't finalised those arrangements yet".
Childcare, OOSH Sectors Facing Collapse, Fear They Will Never Recover, The Sydney Morning Herald, 27 March 2020