Child care centres in Nyirripi and Yuelamu have closed their doors indefinitely with another in Atitjere set to follow next week, leaving working parents with nowhere to leave their kids and 15 Aboriginal people out of a job.
The closure has been forced by the Commonwealth Government’s refusal to properly fund the centre operations.
The centres were recently built at a cost to tax payers of over $4 million and have been operational for only 6 months.
The Central Desert Regional Council has been forced to close the centres as they are losing $1000 per day.
Council President Adrian Dixon said this is a ridiculous decision and an attack on Aboriginal families. “Government talks about closing the gap, getting kids to school and adults to work. It sounds good, but they say one thing and do another”. Mr Dixon said.
Council CEO Cathryn Hutton says it’s sad that the Government doesn’t seem to see the bigger picture. “The first 5 years of life are the most critical. Is depriving little kids access to early childhood learning over an $85,000 dispute per childcare centre worth the long term cost to the community and our society?” Ms Hutton asked.
The Council is calling on the Government to urgently provide the proper level of funding to get these centres reopened. “If the Government wants to choose a new child care provider, so be it. It doesn’t have to be our Council” Mr Dixon said. “But it shouldn’t be at a discount rate. Kids and parents shouldn’t bear the cost of Government’s meanness. Our kids deserve the same high quality, consistent and supportive environment that kids in the cities get”. It should be nothing less”. Mr Dixon said.
For more details call Brad Bellette or Sonya Connellan (08) 8953 3250