Local families are among thousands set to benefit from free childcare, while Victorians will soon have access to free kinder as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Local childcare centres will be providing their services for free following a Federal Government announcement on Thursday, which will see $1.6 billion in funding allocated to the industry Australia- wide over the next three months.
Designed to provide financial relief to families and support child care and early learning centres to keep their doors open, both Paisley Park and the Goldfields Family Centre in Maryborough will benefit from the funding.
The funding, which applies from yesterday, is based on the number of children enrolled in care during the fortnight leading into early March and takes enrolments into account before families began keeping their children at home due to financial hardship or health concerns.
Free childcare priority will be given to working parents, families with pre-existing enrolments (before March 2) at childcare centres, vulnerable and disadvantaged children.
With both Paisley Park and the Goldfields Family Centre set to provide the service for free, Central Goldfields Shire general manager community wellbeing Martin Collins, who oversees the family centre, said the announcement means families will still be able to work if they must and will not be out of pocket when normalcy returns.
“This is essentially going to ensure that families are able to get to work if they’re delivering essential services during this time and also will enable families to keep their childcare places even if they choose to keep their children at home during this period as well,” he said.
“Regardless of the circumstances for families, it means they won’t be out of pocket and they’ll still be enrolled at the family centre.”
In a Facebook post addressing the announcement, Paisley Park confirmed the childcare centre will provide free childcare to local families.
“We want to confirm with you that the free childcare package announced by the government includes all Paisley Park centres,” the statement read.
For more on this story see Page 3 of The Advertiser, Tuesday, April 7