Here is how the government has announced the childcare changes in its statement:
Around one million families are set to receive free child care during the coronavirus pandemic under a plan from the Morrison Government that will help deliver hip pocket relief and help the early childhood education and care sector make it through to the other side of this crisis.
Under the plan, the Government will pay 50 per cent of the sector’s fee revenue up to the existing hourly rate cap based on a point in time before parents started withdrawing their children in large numbers, but only so long as services remain open and do not charge families for care. The funding will apply from 6 April based on the number of children who were in care during the fortnight leading into 2 March, whether or not they are attending services.
The plan provides funding certainty to early childhood education and care services at a time where enrolments and attendance are highly unpredictable. This, along with the JobKeeper payment, means services can offer free education and care.
Childcare centres will be urged to prioritise the needs of workers when it comes to care under the federal government's new childcare system.
"We are going to ask the centres to prioritise and they should prioritise obviously those who need their children cared for because they are working and working where they can't care for their children safely at home," Education Minister Dan Tehan said.
"For them to prioritise as well vulnerable children who need that continuity of care as well and then to re-engage with those parents who have taken their children out of care to see whether they can be accommodated as necessary as well, but there is a clear priority list that we want centres to take into account."
He said the most important of those are essential workers and the vulnerable children. This policy will also apply to after school care and vacation care.
Child care services seeking health and situation information about COVID-19 should contact the 24/7 National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080. Information is also available from https://www.dese.gov.au/news/coronavirus-covid-19