News, media releases

Child care sector still baffled by absent COVID plan and lack of safety access

The Gutwein Government is still yet to come up with a clear and workable COVID safety plan for Tasmania’s critical child care sector with limited and confusing information on contingencies going forward.

Labor Leader Rebecca White said the government was failing to provide understandable COVID-safe direction about close contacts in child care, failing to outline a plan should parents need to keep their children at home and failing to provide access to masks and Rapid Antigen Tests.

“For weeks now child care centres have been receiving confusing – even conflicting – information about what to do now that the Premier has opened the borders to COVID,” Ms White said.

“It is yet another clear example of a government which told Tasmanians it had prepared for the border reopening but clearly had not.

“The child care sector has not been given adequate information about the definition of close contacts in their centres.

“Child care sector workers have no information or limited information about when RATs will become available and with the constant stream of changing information, staff and parents are confused.

“The government set the reopening date for December 15 and should have had a clear plan in place then. It’s astounding that more than a month later there still isn’t one.”

Shadow Education Minister Josh Willie said the government had also failed to address those parents who might need to take their children out of child care in the event of a COVID outbreak.

“Some parents may have the means to do that but certainly not all parents,” Mr Willie said.

“Working parents who may be casual workers might not have that opportunity and they will need to make alternative arrangements or be forced to keep their kids in care until they become a close contact or even catch COVID.

“They will be effectively forced to leave their child in that environment because they will not be able to access the COVID isolation payments unless their child becomes a close contact.”

Rebecca White MP  
Labor Leader
Josh Willie MLC  
Shadow Minister for Education and Early Years
25 January 2022