Bindarra Daycare director Olivia Vollbrecht with son Ari. Picture: Cordell Richardson
Bindarra Daycare director Olivia Vollbrecht with son Ari. Picture: Cordell Richardson

Free child care will allow centres to keep operating

CHILD care operators and staff are rejoicing following the announcement from the Prime Minister that will allow them to keep operating.

With fears they would be forced to shut down as parents pulled their children out at dramatic rates, Scott Morrison announced child care will be free from next week for essential workers with the existing subsidy and rebate system put on hold during the coronavirus pandemic.

The government will waive gape fees for families who keep kids home, following the sector's plea for a lifeline during the health crisis.

It is vindication for Bindarra Daycare director Olivia Vollbrecht.

Seeing how the situation was unfolding due to increasing restrictions, she started an online petition early last week calling for government action.

It garnered more than 25,000 signatures before the Prime Minister's announcement today.

"We'll be fine now," she said.

"We'll be absolutely fine.

"I started the petition in response to what I could foresee what was happening in terms of community job loss and it was a plea, I suppose, for us to be able to manage how we were going to continue to stay viable and operate."

Olivia Vollbrecht, Linda Binns and Tegan Clohessy from Bindarra Daycare after Scott Morrion’s decision.
Olivia Vollbrecht, Linda Binns and Tegan Clohessy from Bindarra Daycare after Scott Morrion’s decision.

The Booval service has been running for more than 40 years and Mrs Vollbrecht said support from families as restrictions tightened had been overwhelming.

"Although we had 30 families who are staying at home, out of those 30 families only four actually cancelled their booking," she said.

"But it was a ticking time bomb when we don't know how long this is going to last.

"We all had plans in place for what we wanted to achieve and do this year. We've gotten to the point where we can no longer make business decisions, we have to factor in how it's a humanitarian decision.

"Saving jobs and relieving families of their financial burden is all we can fight for at the minute because we're all in the same boat."

Blair MP Shayne Neumann congratulated Mrs Vollbrecht and welcomed the news.

"I think she's a local hero," he said.


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