Jobkeeper leaves large early learning providers in the cold


April 7, 2020

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Uniting Vic Tas, says the Federal Government’s childcare package will offer some relief to parents, but it won’t be enough to keep all childcare services open.

The Government has announced a 15 per cent turnover test will apply for charities registered with the ACNC to be eligible for the JobKeeper payment. Parliament is expected to vote on the legislation on Wednesday (April 8).

However, Uniting Vic Tas CEO Bronwyn Pike said the legislation in its current form would not be enough to save its early learning centres as the organisation remains ineligible for the payment.

“We need the JobKeeper legislation to test the 15 per cent fall in revenue separately for individual service providers, such as early learning centres, within larger not-for-organisations,” Ms Pike said.

“Early learning only makes up 14 per cent of the turnover of Uniting Vic Tas. We’re being disadvantaged because we’re a multiservice provider.”

“We‘re one of the few remaining early learning providers not benefiting from JobKeeper. The package is not an adequate solution for the sector if it doesn’t work for everyone.

“Not-for-profit providers like Uniting should get access to the funding the Government has put in place to keep childcare services open. We shouldn’t be disadvantaged due to our organisational structure.”

Uniting Vic Tas operates 58 early learning services across Victoria and Tasmania. Our childcare services employ 550 people caring for more than 2300 children.

Ms Pike said Uniting’ revenue from early learning centres had dropped dramatically as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Attendance at long day care has fallen by 36 per cent across our centres since the COVID-19 outbreak with one of our centres, recording a drop of 89 per cent,” she said.

“Yet, this isn’t enough to meet the JobKeeper test, which is applied to the whole organisation. So, even if we lose 100 per cent of our early learning revenue, we still won’t qualify.

“Without access to JobKeeper we’ll have no choice but to close some services, which would be the worst outcome for our hardworking staff and families who are relying on us during this extraordinary time.”

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