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Child care centres face closure, parents face hardship under Liberal’s flawed school start

  • Hodgman Government’s unnecessary school starting age will close child care centres
  • Others forced to massively increase charges
  • Labor Government will reverse extraordinarily misguided starting age decision

Child care centres throughout Tasmania could face closure if the Hodgman Government claws back lease agreements to make way for its deeply flawed and unnecessary new school starting age plan.

Shadow Education Minister Michelle O’Byrne said families trying to access child care would now face needless hardship as doors closed and remaining child care businesses are forced to increase fees as a result of dramatic reductions in enrolments.

Ms O’Byrne said  child care services that operate from school sites,  like Norwood Primary School that has a lease with Lady Gowrie Child Centre, are very concerned about future tenure because of the need for the school to have additional space to accommodate three and half -year-olds as part of the lowering of the school starting age change.

“It’s abundantly clear that the government and Education Minister Jeremy Rockliff have not thought through the long term consequences of their change to the school starting age,” Ms O’Byrne said.

“If child care centres on school campuses lose their leases, the availability of child care for families is removed for all children.

“In other communities that will not completely lose access to centres, families will face unaffordable increases – that has been made very clear in modelling carried out by the Discovery Early Learning Centres group which operates child care centres throughout the state.

“That modelling shows fees for each child each day will increase from $88.50 to $160 in some areas and that means parents will have to give up work or study as child care goes beyond their reach.

“Child care should not be a luxury and under a re-elected Majority Labor Government, the school starting age will not be reduced and, instead, proven early years programs with proven results will be implemented.

“That includes our commitment to build six new Child and Family Centres which give kids and their families better access to early learning, health services and support.

“Unlike what the Liberals have done, we need to be undertaking genuine consultation with communities to understand what barriers there are preventing families becoming involved in early education.

“Early learning needs to be tailored to the needs of families and communities.”