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Why Unanderra single mother of six kids happy free childcare ending

HAPPY: Liz Jennings with sons Jack Grindle and Lachlan Grindle outside Boombalee Kidz in Wollongong. Ms Jennings is happy to pay for childcare and is happy free childcare is ending. Picture: Robert Peet
HAPPY: Liz Jennings with sons Jack Grindle and Lachlan Grindle outside Boombalee Kidz in Wollongong. Ms Jennings is happy to pay for childcare and is happy free childcare is ending. Picture: Robert Peet

As a single mother of six children, it would seem logical Liz Jennings is disappointed free childcare will end on Monday.

But that assumption would be wrong, the Unanderra woman is happy to pay for childcare again.

Ms Jennings, whose two youngest kids Lachlan and Jack Grindle go to Boombalee Kidz in Wollongong, though feels the government should continue supporting the hard-hit childcare industry.

The Federal Government introduced the free scheme in April, with the aim of keeping providers afloat during the coronavirus pandemic.

But from Monday, July 13 parents will be paying again and the Child Care Subsidy will be reintroduced.

"This scheme was an unnecessary gamble as far as I'm concerned. I don't think the government thought it out very well," Ms Jennings said.

"I feel for the childcare industry. I don't think the government thought about the repercussions for the centres.

"As a single mother of six I needed the centres to be open for me to continue working. Taking away the parents financial contribution and making it free put more pressure on our centres.

"I'm happy to pay as long as I can be guaranteed a quality childcare provider, which fortunately for me I have.

"It was a tough, uncertain time and our centre was losing money but the staff were always friendly and professional and did a great job with our kids.

"Childcare workers shouldn't be put at risk. It is an occupation. It should never be put in jeopardy. This scheme 100 per cent jeopardised a whole heap of child care centres."

Childcare workers will lose access to JobKeeper on July 20, seven days after the government's three-month dalliance with free childcare ends.

To help providers transition back to fees, the Federal Government will pay 25 per cent of their fee revenue until the end of September.

No other sector has so far been identified by the government as losing JobKeeper earlier than the September 27 cut-off.

Wollongong early childhood educator Kathy Patrick was frustrated.

"It just shows what the government thinks of us," the Boombalee Kidz owner said.

"There is a transition payment but that is not enough.

"We have to stay open and we have to be there because we are so important for the community to keep functioning. That is fair enough but then [the government] cut our income in half, keep JobKeeper so some centres can still stay afloat and then we are the first ones to be kicked off JobKeeper when things go back to normal.

"It is not fair."

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This story Why Unanderra single mother of six kids happy free childcare ending first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.