A HANDFUL of childcare centres operating on crown land are to have their state funding axed by the Barnett government in June 2018.
The department of communities is offloading responsibility for 33 not-for-profit childcare centres across WA, saying it no longer wants to cover $1.4 million of their rent, maintenance and insurance costs.
Mt Lawley Labor candidate Simon Millman has started a petition opposing the cuts, saying the costs will be passed on to families already experiencing high fees.
“WA has a childcare shortage, with long wait lists for many childcare centres. The government says it wants to encourage women into the workforce, yet this decision by the Liberal government will make the situation worse,” Mr Millman says.
Shelley Carlin, director of Marjorie Mann day care centre in Mt Lawley, says she’s not sure how the childcare centres will stay afloat.
“Affordability wise, the cost will have to go on to the parents and I don’t think that’s sustainable … it’s going to affect a lot of educators”, Ms Carlin says.
“There’s a lot of families that this is going to affect…the snowball effect of this is going to be astronomical.”
Community services minister Tony Simpson says the sector should have a level playing field, noting there’s 1104 privately-owned centres across the state who get no rent assistance.
“It is not appropriate for the state government, as the childcare regulator, to also own or lease property in which childcare services are offered. These changes will provide an equal playing field across all child care services,” Mr Simpson says. “My department is working closely with local governments, affected centres and the Department of Lands to identify alternative arrangements.”
Mr Simpson says he doubts any centres will close as a result of the changes.
by TRILOKESH CHANMUGAM