'We can breath a sigh of relief': Sydney nurse welcomes childcare announcement

Angela Jarkey with daughter Alice.
Angela Jarkey with daughter Alice.  Photo: Supplied

 Each day nurse Angela Jarkey spends her days in a workplace that puts her at greater risk of coming into contact with coronavirus.

That fact is stressful enough, but the Sydney mother was also worried she would need to ask her parents or in-laws to care for her young daughter while she worked - which would in turn put her elderly relatives at risk. Until now. 

Thanks to Prime Minister Scott Morrison's childcare funding announcement, Ms Jarkey can be confident 16-month-old daughter Alice's childcare centre will not be forced to close due to financial collapse and she and husband Alex will be able to continue working. 

"We can sort of breath a bit of a sigh of relief" Ms Jarkey, who works at Canterbury Hospital,  told Essential Baby. "It means we don't have to look on relying on Alice's grandparents to look after her, which we were going to have to consider.

"We were a little bit anxious that they were going to shut the day care centres.

"My husband ... is still working full time so if he had to stop working [to look after Alice] that would've really impacted us financially."

Ms Jarkey, who is a clinical nurse educator, said the discussion around closing was something they discussed almost every day at the day care, with the uncertainty causing a lot of pressure.

"[The day care centre] been really great,but there's definitely been some anxiety," she said.

"So, it's really good to know the government is really doing everything it can to keep those centres open for people that are working."

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Ms Jarkey admits it would've been extremely difficult asking her or her husbands' parents to look after her daughter, because of the fact her work in a hospital increases the likelihood of  exposure to the virus. However if the centres had closed, the family would've had no other option.

"With me being in a high-risk area we didn't want to risk exposing them to anything," she said. "It was getting so stressful thinking about how that might play out".

The plan, unveiled today, will deliver hip pocket relief for families and help the early childhood education and care sector make it through to the other side of the crisis.  

Under the new system, the government will pay 50 per cent of the childcare centre's revenue based on a period of time before which parents began removing their children from facilities as a result of COVID-19.

The Prime Minister said almost one million families will benefit from the plan.

"There is a lot of stress at the moment, especially for workers in the healthcare industry" Ms Jarkey said.

"Having stress at work and at home is exhausting, so I'm feeling a little more at ease with the financial help and knowing that she'll still be able to go to day care."

Ms Jarkey also said that the announcement made her feel more supported.

"It really shows the government is really focussing on keeping these centres open and keeping the staff employed and keeping that care available so that we can still work" she said.

"It's really made a difference and I know a lot of people will be in the same boat"

Find out all the details of the new childcare system here