PM guarantees Vic childcare places, jobs

Childcare places, centres and jobs will be guaranteed during Melbourne’s harsh six-week coronavirus lockdown.

Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan will unveil a rescue package on Wednesday before ramped-up measures to shut businesses take effect.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the initiative would secure childcare spots, while ensuring no centres closed or jobs were lost.

“A triple guarantee for parents, the services themselves, as well as for the employees,” he told the Seven Network.

“This is necessitated by this big lockdown in Melbourne.”

Childcare centres will be paid to remain open and keep staff employed during the six-week period.

The federal government will pay subsidies so children can be kept at home without losing their place.

Victoria recorded 439 new cases on Tuesday and another 11 deaths, bringing the national toll to 232.

All the deaths recorded in Victoria are linked to aged care.

Mr Morrison said there had been unacceptable outcomes in the most severely affected homes.

“There’s over 430 aged care facilities in Melbourne and what we’ve had is some horrible outcomes in a couple,” he said.

“There’s been about half a dozen that have been in an acute sense but the balance, even those with COVID cases, have been managing very well.”

The prime minister is also offering other states and territories to join Victoria in receiving $1500 payments for workers without sick leave.

Unions and Labor have been pushing for a national scheme, stressing the need to prevent outbreaks triggered by workplace transmission.

“That option is there for other states and territories where they believe they need to move to that stage,” Mr Morrison said.

Queensland will close to people from NSW and the ACT from 1am on Saturday despite Canberra having no active cases and not recording a new infection for almost a month.

NSW recorded 12 new cases on Tuesday, with all linked to known sources.

Mr Morrison said about a quarter of Victorians with coronavirus were not home when Australian Defence Force, police or health officials visited.

“That’s just not on,” he said.

Heavy fines will be in place for sick Victorians refusing to stay home as Australia’s harshest lockdown begins in the beleaguered state.

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