Our care centres face a dire financial future if the state government doesn’t step up to cover the federal government’s unfunded promise to waive gap fees for parents.
We will haemorrhage about $50,000 a week after the state and federal governments announced that parents didn’t have to pay gap fees, but failed to fund the scheme, leaving the burden on councils and other providers.
Mayor Steve Christou said councils were the largest provider of child care in the state.
“Last year we were put in an unthinkable position where we were forced to consider the suspension of our child care services because of a similar harebrained scheme from the government,” Mayor Christou said.
“From all the work we’ve done to improve the viability and operations of our centres over the past year, we can wear some losses, but not at this enormous scale. The government has made this announcement without considering the impact on councils who are the biggest providers of child care in the state.
“In the past two weeks, 40% of children enrolled in our centres have not attended. With this announcement, this number is likely to increase so we could be losing up to half of the revenue from gap fees or more.
“We’re asking the state to step in. It’s because of their incompetence in managing the pandemic and vaccination roll out that this child care crisis has eventuated.
“Our residents, who are among the poorest in the state, should not have to pay for the continual incompetence of the state and federal governments.
“While other countries are coming out of lockdown, we’re back to where we were 18 months ago with half country in lock down.”
“We have about 1500 children enrolled in our 16 education and care services and these families are relying on us to provide these critical services at this time. My concern is that we’ve once again been put in an impossible position where we’re answerable to both our ratepayers and the families relying on these services but the losses we have to wear are going to be significant. This affects other services Councils provide and we can’t keep doing this.”