One million Australian families to get free childcare as part of coronavirus response

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a new childcare system that will support around one million families in Australia.

(CNN)About one million families in Australia will have access to free childcare in response to the coronavirus outbreak, the country's Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Thursday.

The plan will also support the early childhood education and care sector during the crisis, according to a government press release.
"These services are vital for so many parents so they can provide for their family, and children need as much familiarity and continuity as we can help provide at this unsettling time," said Morrison.
"Priority will be given to working parents, vulnerable and disadvantaged children that need early education more than ever and parents with pre-existing enrolments," he added.
    Under the plan the sector will receive $1.6 billion AUD ($974 million USD) over the next three months, with payments starting at the end of next week, according to the press release. No exact date has been provided.
    This will help childcare facilities stay open and make it easier for Australians in essential jobs to keep working.
    The new temporary system will be reviewed after one month, and an extension will be considered.
    "This package will help support families during these difficult times, particularly those who have lost their job and are doing it tough," Minister for Education Dan Tehan said in a statement.
      Countries around the world are grappling with how to provide for childcare so that workers can still provide essential services during the coronavirus outbreak.
      In the UK, schools and nurseries are shut to all but those whose parents work in a limited number of professions.