City of Bayswater: child care centres facing uncertain futures because of funding cuts

City of Bayswater: child care centres facing uncertain futures because of funding cuts

UNCERTAINTY surrounds the future of two City of Bayswater-based child care centres after funding cuts were announced.

About 33 community-based early childhood centres in WA will have property management and maintenance services abolished by the State Government, including Noranda Child Care Centre and Salisbury Child Care Centre.

The State Government said the support was “not core business of the Department (of Local Government and Communities) to manage property for third parties”.

The Salisbury centre currently does not pay rent, while Noranda is on a peppercorn lease.

Both have an 18-month to two-year waitlist and care for 47 children every day, catering for about 100 families per week.

Bayswater Child Care Association chairman Mike Anderton said he was “very concerned” about the cuts and attended an emergency meeting this week.

“It’s all about the maintenance of the buildings, for example, last year we had a modified kitchen installed that was done by the Department,” he said.

“In the future that will be cut out, so those services will no longer operate and we don’t know what will happen to these centres.

“Our legitimate concerns are that if people have to start paying commercial rates.”

Mr Anderton said Noranda Child Care Centre was vested in the City of Bayswater, but they did not have a position on its future as it was “still early days”.

“Ideally we would get the Government to vest the ownership of the centres in the various associations,” he said.

“We would then operate and provide the maintenance; that’s the best case scenario.”

The cut also affects neighbour centres including Bayswater Family Centre.

East Metropolitan MLC Amber-Jade Sanderson said the centres were concerned they would be forced to either pass the cost to parents or have to close if they could not meet the extra cost.

“WA already has a childcare shortage, with long wait lists for many childcare centres,” she said.

“They are willing shut local community childhood centres to save $1.4 million.”

However, the Department of Local Government and Communities corporate services executive director Elizabeth Delany, in a letter sent to local centres, said the current arrangement was “inequitable”.

“The Department… will cease to provide property management and maintenance services for local child care and community centres,” she said.

“It is not core business of the Department to manage property for third parties.

“The allocation of subsidised accommodation to relatively few community groups and childcare providers is considered I nequitable and the current arrangement hinders the efficient allocation of resources on the basis of demonstrated need.”

There will be a two-year transition period for people to make alternative arrangements.