Australian parents and carers of primary school students who use before and after school care (BASC) services in the state of New South Wales (NSW) will be able to redeem a $500 voucher that will cover the gap fees.
“We know that for parents, this pandemic has been incredibly tough, balancing homeschooling with work, we want to do whatever we can to improve the daily juggle,” he told reporters on Monday. “This $500 voucher will put a downward pressure on family budgets [and] importantly, help mums and dads balance work and family life.”
NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said both parents and BASC service providers will benefit from the $155 million (US$108 million) program.
Every family with children a primary school student is eligible for one voucher per child, providing each child with around 60 sessions of free BASC.
“Making before and after school care more affordable for families is really important,” Mitchell said. “I know it will be welcomed by a lot of working parents across NSW.”
The voucher program will be delivered through Service NSW and follow a similar procedure to the Dine & Discover vouchers. Eligible parents will receive vouchers through the Service NSW app and can scan the QR code or use the voucher code to redeem.
Service providers will be able to register and redeem vouchers from Feb. 7, while parents will be able to receive the vouchers from Feb. 28.
The voucher program is the latest back-to-school measure aimed at helping families prepare for class, including the distribution of more than 12 million rapid antigen tests for the first four weeks of school.
Catholic schools resumed school on Tuesday, with government school students returning to class on Monday.
It also comes after the state government announced a $1 billion (US$702 million) support package for businesses hit hard by the Omicron outbreak.
“This targeted package provides support for businesses who experienced cash flow issues and the immediate economic impacts of the Omicron outbreak,” Perrottet said. “We’ve got the backs of businesses, as we have throughout this entire pandemic.”