Daycare provider Alison Barrett with son Bowen.
Daycare provider Alison Barrett with son Bowen.

Educator reveals true cost of free childcare

LOWER Clarence daycare provider Alison Barrett said the government's free childcare package fails to understand the nature of her industry.

"Family daycare changes from week to week and we are always looking to help out families where required," she said.

"With this new package there is no room for new bookings, changed bookings, and vacation care.

"In my own service I have been asked to have school holiday care and care for health workers. Under this system I am unable to facilitate this."

Ms Barrett said her income has been reduced to by 60 per cent under the new scheme because she took time off during the two-week period the government were basing the package on.

"I rarely take time off, however in this specific period I took two days off," she said.

"One was because my eldest son was inducted as school captain and the other because my youngest son was sick, so I needed to care for him and protect my children in care from catching the bug.

"In making these choices, I lost income then, now I'm being further penalised."

Ms Barrett said the package is designed to support businesses that have lost all or a majority of their children in care because of COVID-19. But because the majority of her clients are essential workers, she continues to operate with full books.

"I fully appreciate this was not the intention of the rescue package, however the impact on my business and family is massive," she said.

"I will still have a business operating at 100 per cent capacity, but I will be paid 40 per cent of the usual fees."