Community Child Care Centres are facing an uncertain future after the Barnett Government announced they will scrap funding support for property management and maintenance services from 2018.
The cuts, which equate to about $1.4 million per year, spell a budget black hole for 33 centres across Perth and will likely see customer fees rise or risk closure.
This announcement is just another nail in the coffin for the sector in a troubled climate where educators have been warning for some time about the looming ‘triple crisis’ of quality, affordability and accessibility.
Already government investment in ECEC is below the OECD average and far below the best practice indicator of spending at least 1 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), with many children missing access to Quality Early Learning.
Today Tonight covered the story last week and spoke with United Voice member Sally Whitaker and parents of children from the Leederville Early Childhood Centre. You can watch the story here.
Community based childcare centres are not-for-profit facilities run to provide quality education and care for young children, without having to worry about making a profit for shareholders.
These centres go some way towards addressing the shortfall by accessing local funding and building community initiatives to provide a higher quality of education and care than the major profit-driven services.
Sally says the cuts will mean kids "will miss out".
"An increase in costs for quality ECEC means a step backwards in the sector," she said.
"Left with no alternative, Community Centres will be forced to up their fees.
"This will in turn contribute to the crisis in accessibility, leaving quality ECEC for the most disadvantaged and vulnerable groups in the community out of reach - despite these groups having the most need."
Shadow Minister Simone McGurk for Community Services and Children's Interests has thrown her support behind the sector and condemned the Barnett Government's cuts. On Thursday Ms McGurk will raise the issue in Parliament.
You can attend parliament to petition the cuts with other United Voice members and families. For more details click here.