City stays mum

PARENTS whose kids are being ousted from the soon-to-close Citiplace Child Care Centre say they’ve been met with a wall of non-answers from its owner: Perth council.

Perth councillors voted behind closed doors in March to close the centre without consulting parents or staff (“Secret vote closes Citiplace childcare,” Voice, April 9, 2022).

The council’s rationale was that the centre was unprofitable and there were enough privately-childcare centres to handle demand. The new plan was to  rent out the building to try to make more money.

Parents say the privately-run alternatives don’t meet their needs, as most centres don’t have spots for infants or occasional short-term care. 

A series of 22 questions parents put to the April 26 council meeting were answered in the minutes released this week.

But the answers are “poor quality and evasive” according to lead petitioner Trilby Russell.

Any questions asking about whether councillors were informed about the unique services offered at Citiplace when they voted were met with a repeated vague answer that “elected Members received full briefings on the operation of the service”.

One pointed question asked “since 17 October 2020 have any elected members or the CEO been contacted or lobbied by private childcare providers canvassing the closure of the city‚Äôs childcare centre?”

But the answer made no mention of whether councillors had been contacted, just stating “the CEO has confirmed she has not been contacted”.

The parents have a Freedom of Information request underway which they hope will shed more light on that question, and on what information was given to councillors when they made the call to close.

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