Childcare facilities have expressed concern following the announcement that free childcare and JobKeeper payments would end earlier than expected. Binningup Occasional Childcare director Kelseigh Skaife said the news was “very disappointing” and could force the regional facility to close. The Federal Government is ending its $1.6 billion free childcare program on July 12 and parents will have to start paying for the service. Educators will also be forced off the JobKeeper program — something Mrs Skaife said was “very unfair”. “We have already had to lay off some of our staff because of the COVID-19 crisis and the whole situation has been really stressful,” Mrs Skaife said. “There are a lot of women working in the industry and many could lose their jobs. “For our centre, if we close now, there will be no coming back.” Mrs Skaife believed more help was needed to save the Binningup centre. “Our centre will struggle to survive if we don’t receive any help.” “Many families are experiencing financial hardship and this will be devastating for those who rely on childcare.” The director said the centre had lost 85 per cent of its enrolments in the wake of the virus and was “feeling the pinch”. While Binningup lost enrolments, the Waroona Childcare Centre saw a 40 per cent increase of children with the implementation of free childcare. Centre manager Mel Della-Franca said it was great for families, however, not sustainable for centres. “Free childcare is great to help families get back into work, however many centres ran at a loss because our funding stayed the same as numbers increased,” she said. Forrest MHR Nola Marino said a Childcare Subsidy would recommence from July 13 to support providers and families. Murray-Wellington MLA Robyn Clarke said she was “disappointed” with the Federal Government’s decision to end free childcare and scrap the JobKeeper program. “All essential workers should have the JobKeeper payment extended, how do we expect mothers and fathers to get back into the workforce to get the economy going if they can’t afford childcare,” Mrs Clarke said.