December 9, 2008
The Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester has called on the Government to give incentives to local childcare providers to take over failing ABC child care centres and make sure places remain available for Gippsland families next year.
Mr Chester said he understood that six Gippsland centres were deemed to be not viable in their current form by the receivers reviewing ABC child care operations.
But he said there was clearly a need for those childcare places to remain available.
“Local families need to be able to plan for next year and to know that they will have access to high quality childcare,” Mr Chester said.
“Child care should be considered an essential service in our modern society.
“When it comes to attracting skilled workers to regional areas there is an expectation that quality childcare services will be available for parents.”
Mr Chester said he was aware of not-for-profit providers and a Council in Gippsland that were prepared to take over some of the ailing ABC centres.
“But they are going to need support in the transitional phase and government subsidies to assist them to meet the financial shortfall,” Mr Chester said.
“We need to move quickly to provide security for families for 2009 and the Government needs to step in and protect families and provide them with some security for the year ahead.”
Mr Chester said the Government should also consider staff entitlements as part of any bail out package.
“These are trained and dedicated staff who stand to lose entitlements such as annual leave and long service leave, accrued over many years of loyal service,” Mr Chester said.
“The entitlements of ABC child care staff must be considered as part of any bail out package.”