Free child care is the latest instalment in the federal government’s billion-dollar efforts to fight the economic devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The $1.6 billion childcare package announced on Thursday is designed to save as many of the sector’s 13,000 childcare and early learning services as possible.
The funding will start from April 6 and will cover enrolments as they stood in the fortnight leading up to March 2, before people started pulling their kids out of care because of job losses and health fears.
The means and activity testing of fee subsidies will be dropped while the new system is in place.Prime Minister Scott Morrison said parents currently working through the pandemic will be prioritised.
“I don’t want a parent to have to choose between feeding their kids and having their kids looked after,” he said.
Australia’s coronavirus death toll has risen to 24 following three reported deaths on Thursday, with the number of diagnosed cases now more than 5000.
More than 266,000 Australians have been tested for COVID-19, with the testing rate now at 1000 for every 100,000 people.
This equates to about one per cent and makes Australia the world leader.Health Minister Greg Hunt said on Thursday Australia’s death rate of less than one per cent of cases was among the lowest globally.
The rate of daily growth has fallen to about nine per cent after being as high as 30 per cent last week.