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Free childcare for essential workers: What we learnt from Scott Morrison’s press conference.

The Prime Minister has announced a new free childcare system for essential workers as of Sunday night.

“We will be putting in place support arrangements to childcare facilities, some 13,000 of them, to ensure they remain open and they will be there for their parents to ensure they can do what they need to do each day,” said Scott Morrison.

What we will be doing is turning off the old system and going to a new system, which will provide that relief to parents,” added Education Minister Dan Tehan.

“Can I say to all those parents, what we want to do by doing this is ensure that your childcare centre will remain open, so that you know where you normally take your child to get cared, that that will be there for you, so you are not looking to have to go to a new centre. 

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13,000 childcare centres will be funded by the federal government. Image: Getty.

"The way it will work is that we will look at what 50 per cent of the fees up to the rate cap were in the fortnight before 2nd March and we will pay you that amount on a fortnightly basis," said Tehan.

"We are asking if the sector are to receive these payments. The centre must remain open. It must provide care for those parents who need their children cared for. They must also seek to re-enrol those parents who might have dropped off. So if they need care, they can get that care as well," explained the Education Minister. 

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Centres are being asked to prioritise children of essential workers and vulnerable children, before moving onto parents who have taken their children out of care to see if they can be accommodated as well.

"But there is a clear priority list that we want centres to take into account," said Tehan.

In terms of the spread of coronavirus, Scott Morrison said: "The rate of growth, as we have seen, particularly over the course of this week, has fallen on a daily basis, to single digit numbers, and that is welcome, but it is still not enough."

"I really want Australians to understand that we need to be in this for that haul. It will be months. We need to make changes that we can live with and that we can implement day after day, week after week, month after month," he said. 

Australia has now reached a testing rate of more than 1000 tests per 100,000 population - which equates to one percent of the population.

"We are the first country to the best of our knowledge that has been able to exceed that mark," said Morrison. 

"Stay positive Australia, stay connected, stay strong, we will get through this together," he added.

The Prime Minister was quizzed on how his government will pay for all of the stimulus packages they are announcing to support the country through coronavirus, to which Morrison replied: "We are very conscious of the size of these commitments and what can be done.

"That is why I said the other day, there will be some who will think it is too much and some who think it is too little. What we have done is sought to calibrate these commitments consistent with what the country will be able to withstand and, no, we're not reconsidering franking credits and these sort of things. Ultimately, when we come out the other side of this, we will have to address the many challenges we have taken on."

Feature image: Getty.

To protect yourself and the community from COVID-19, keep at least 1.5 metres away from other people, regularly wash your hands and avoid touching your face.
If you are sick and believe you have symptoms of COVID-19, call your GP ahead of time to book an appointment. Or call the national Coronavirus Health Information Line for advice on 1800 020 080. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 000.
To keep up to date with the latest information, please visit the Department of Health website.

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