AU PM Scott Morrison Guarantees Vic Childcare Places, Jobs

By AAP
August 4, 2020 Updated: August 4, 2020

Childcare places, centres and jobs will be guaranteed during Melbourne’s harsh six-week pandemic lockdown under a Morrison government pledge to save the sector.

Education Minister Dan Tehan will unveil a rescue package on Aug 5 before ramped up measures to shut businesses take effect.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the initiative would secure childcare spots, while ensuring no centres close or jobs are lost.

“A triple guarantee for parents, the services themselves, as well as for the employees,” he told the Seven Network on Wednesday.

“This is necessitated by this big lockdown in Melbourne.”

There will be payments made to childcare centres to remain in operation and staff employed during the six-week period.

The federal government will pay subsidies so children can be kept at home without losing their place.

Victoria recorded 439 new cases on Tuesday and another 11 deaths, bringing the national toll to 232.

Sick Victorians face harsher penalties to stop people spreading the disease by refusing to isolate.

More than 500 Australian Defence Force troops are also being deployed to Victoria to enforce stay-at-home orders, joined by hundreds more health officials.

All of the deaths recorded in Victoria on Tuesday were linked to aged care.

The prime minister has announced $1500 disaster payments for Victorians who need to self-isolate for two weeks and have exhausted their sick leave.

But unions argue it does not go far enough and should be extended across the country.

Morrison said he is open to extending the scheme to other states and territories if governments request the payment.

Matt Coughlan in Canberra