Question about childcare closures
Posted December 03, 2018
Cathy has urged the Minister for Education to convene an urgent roundtable in Albury-Wodonga, to outline options for maintaining much-needed childcare services in rural communities. Question and answer below.
More details here: http://www.cathymcgowan.com.au/childcare_closures_in_rural_communities
Ms McGOWAN (Indi) (14:27): My question is to the Minister for Education. Five mobile childcare services in my electorate at Mitta, Walwa, Kergunyah, Baranduda and Bellbridge and two in Farrer will close before Christmas. The closures will impact on at least 60 children and put 20 staff out of work. It's particularly sad because mobile child care has been operated for more than 30 years across north-east Victoria and southern New South Wales. Minister, will you convene an urgent round table in Albury-Wodonga, bringing together parents, providers, staff and local government to outline options to maintain these much-needed services in our rural communities?
Mr TEHAN (Wannon—Minister for Education) (14:28): I thank the member for Indi for her question and also acknowledge the way that her office and the office of the member for Farrer have worked with my office on this issue and also for the cooperative way that both members have worked with me. I spoke with Rod Wangman, the CEO of Albury Wodonga Community College, this morning, and Rod is very keen, as I know both members are, to make sure that we can get some interim arrangements in place and make sure that we can, especially for those families, get services provided next year. I think the suggestion of making sure that we have a round table is a very good one. As a matter of fact, it might be worth us doing one in Victoria on the Victorian side and then one on the New South Wales side so that we can get all the relevant groups together and make sure that we can provide services going forward.
As the member knows, the government is putting record investment into child care—$8.3 billion. What we've got to make sure of is that that record investment of $8.3 billion enables us to provide the services that are required not only in urban settings but also in smaller rural communities. As a member of parliament who represents a rural community, as the member for Farrer and the member for Indi do, I want to make sure that that record investment works right across this country. I look forward to convening those round tables and working with both members to make sure that we get the outcomes we need.