Transcript of 9 April 2020 livestream


Hi. I’m Martin Graham, I’m the executive director at of the Early Childhood Education at the New South Wales Department of Education.

I'd like to acknowledge that I come to you today from the lands of the Gadigal people of the Eora nation. And I pay my respects to Elders past, present, and emerging. I'd also like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the lands that you join us from.

The purpose of this session today is to update you on some recent events and to let you know what's happened since our last webcast which suddenly seems like it was a long time ago.

Firstly, I'd like to welcome you to our Facebook site. It's a new forum for us. So get on here and like us, follow us and you can stay updated. And using this will be able to keep you much more regularly informed with the latest information.

Since last time, we also have updated frequently asked questions and we'll have a link to them on our website. And it might address some of the issues that you've had or raised since last time.

We also have now on our department's website arranged materials to support parents, particularly those with their children at home at this time.

We’ve got links to online materials and I know that many of you are also staying in touch with your families online.

At the moment, I think you know that we've suspended assessment rating visits and all our staff are working to support services and families and provide support where they can and particularly on the phone at this time.

Look, we know that Commonwealth-funded services have had the most significant changes to funding arrangements, ever.

Well, this morning the Premier and Minister announced a new initiative for state-funded community and mobile preschools. To maintain viability in the sector and to support families, the government has announced provision of free pre-school for the next two terms.

Now it’s voluntary for preschools to join this program. This is what it will look like. The funding will be provided to cover a reasonable level of fee income to make it possible to provide this free pre-schooling whilst maintaining your existing staff. So, this will address the issue of viability that's come about particularly through falling enrolments.

The government will fund 15 hours of pre-school per week for families. We're looking to support existing children but also essential workers, if you have additional spaces.

This will keep staff employed and centres must remain open and available if they’d received the funding.

Importantly, if children are enrolled but not able to attend the service we really encourage you to look at outreach models so that they can stay in touch with the pre-school and when the pandemic passes you'll have a strong ongoing relationship and the children will be well supported.

We'll have more information on the website and we're working with the sector to implement the program in a way that is straightforward as anything can be at this particular time.

The government also announced that they'd be providing support for local government services as they're not eligible for the job keeper package and additional Commonwealth support.

And we'll be working with local government to implement this in as simple a way as possible and we'll provide more information as it becomes available.

They're the main updates we have for you.

If you want to stay in touch, you can SMS 'subscribe' to our crisis line which is 0429 918 924.

But with the magic of Facebook we'll also have that in a post here.

You can always call us on our phone number 1800 619 113.

Or you can email us and we'll have that email contact here as well because I have been known to get that wrong.

To say that this has been a busy time for everyone really is an understatement.

I know your staff have been absolutely flat out, as ours have been as well, adjusting to this rapidly changing situation.

We know you've been dealing with family, children who are trying to navigate this difficult terrain and that's a real challenge.

We know the way educators across the sectors are hugely appreciated by families. And by us as well.

And this morning in a press conference the Premier and Minister both expressed their great appreciation for the work that's being done right across the sector.

We hope that you get some kind of break over Easter and have a chance to spend some time with your families even though it wouldn't be the break that you may have been planning just a couple of months ago.

And we look forward to keeping you updated as we go on.

But otherwise have a good break and we'll see you on the other side.

End of transcript.

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