Rainbow Valley Early Learning Centre director Marion Hayes with Thomas Heard, Illah Aldwell, Mako Sheppard, Edward Meyer and Kirsty Petersen, October 2019. Picture: Jessica Perkins
Rainbow Valley Early Learning Centre director Marion Hayes with Thomas Heard, Illah Aldwell, Mako Sheppard, Edward Meyer and Kirsty Petersen, October 2019. Picture: Jessica Perkins

‘In the air’: Childcare scheme brings uncertainty

LAST week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced free childcare for children of essential workers, but childcare centres are not entirely sure what that will mean for them.

On Friday, Rainbow Valley Early Learning Centre director Marion Hayes told The Observer there had been a push for the government to help and the announcement was a good thing for families who would receive relief at "this difficult time".

"We still don't know what it will look like for us," Mrs Hayes said.

"We're hearing the information from the news so we can't really get ahead of it to help families know what's happening."

Under the scheme, which kicked off on Monday, the Federal Government will pay half of the sector's fee revenue up to the existing hourly rate cap and based on the number of children in care in the fortnight leading up to March 2.

"We've been given a rough idea of the figure but not how it will be calculated," Mrs Hayes said.

She said it also involved JobKeeper payments for staff, but was unsure of how that would impact the centre.

"The mechanics of it are up in the air," she said.

"It's a fast-moving situation, I'm just waiting to see how it happens."

Mr Morrison said everyone was eligible for the scheme, but essential workers and vulnerable people would be the scheme's top priority.