Bowen childcare face uncertainty after government initiative

THE Federal Government is to announce the full details of its proposed free childcare scheme in the coming days, with Bowen childcare centres waiting to see how the plan will affect them.

From Tuesday, childcare operators were no longer be allowed to charge for their services, with the Federal Government saying it would pay operators half of what they received per hour, per child.

The Federal Government said the JobKeeper scheme would make up for any losses for operators.

Bowen's Kidz At The Beach childcare centre said the government's plan would allow it to "keep afloat", but it was still largely unknown exactly what it would mean for them. 

Centre director Lee Trenow said it was important to prioritise the health and safety of their staff and children and support the families of essential workers. 

"The biggest problem is it's changing all the time, it's still not passed legislation but hopefully by Thursday," she said.

"It's scary because it's unknown, it's just such a grey area."

With jobs at risk in many industries around the country, Ms Trenow said it was important to remember everyone was facing the same uncertainty.

"You have to put it into perspective … and do what works for your centre, and that's looking after the staff and the children," she said.

"At this stage our families have been amazing and that makes it a lot easier. The problem is trying to keep them informed but we only know so much."

The Federal Government announced charities, including Goodstart Early Learning, could apply for JobKeeper payments for their staff.

Goodstart CEO Julia Davison said in a press release the group was thankful the government recognised the "unique and vital role" charities and not-for-profit organisations played in supporting Australians "in times of crisis and in the recovery period to come."

"While the legislation won't be introduced into parliament until Wednesday, we are very relieved that once it is passed, we will be able to continue to support families in our centres across the nation," Ms Davison said.

"The Treasurer and the Minister for Education have worked hard in recent days for our centres and our families to ensure they found a solution for us and we thank them for their support.

"Access to the JobKeeper payments is vital as it will ensure that we can trade through this very difficult time."

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