The Atitjere Child Care Centre will close its doors indefinitely on Friday 21 August due to a lack of funding from the Commonwealth Government. This marks the third closure of a child care centre in Central Australia in the last week leaving more working parents with no child care options and a loss of real jobs.
Late last week the Central Desert Regional Council was forced to shut the Yuelamu and Nyirripi Child Care Services.
The Atitjere Centre has only been operational for 6 months and was officially opened with much fanfare in May 2015. It was part of a Commonwealth Government’s Child Care Centre Building Program that cost tax payers in excess of $4 million.
The Council has been forced to close the Atitjere Centre as it was losing $500 per day paying for necessary services without sufficient funding.
Council CEO Cathryn Hutton says it is a regrettable but necessary action. “Council was forced to make this decision as it does not have the funds to cross subsidise child care. The funding of child care services is the responsibility of the Commonwealth Government. Services need to be safe and they need to be of good quality.” Ms Hutton said.
Adrian Dixon, Central Desert Regional Council President said it was a sad day for Atitjere families and kids. “It’s really sad that Aboriginal children and mums and dads are the victims of Government cut backs. For only $85,000 more per year, this centre could have stayed open. We want out kids to grow up strong and child care centres are really important in helping our families do that.” Mr Dixon said.
The Council is calling on the Commonwealth Government to urgently reopen these centres. “These services should be properly funded so coordinators can be employed and based in the community to supervise, train and support local workers. We know that drive-in drive-out supervision doesn’t work”. Mr Dixon said.
For more details call Brad Bellette or Sonya Connellan (08) 8953 3250