Childcare centres hit by downturn, regulations

Goldfields Childcare Centre educator Rachel Booker, Louisa Kahagalla, 3, Issac Della Valle, 4, Shayla Bowen, 3, Nikita Sadler, 4, educator Jacquelin Sim and Jazlyn Leahy, 3.
Goldfields Childcare Centre educator Rachel Booker, Louisa Kahagalla, 3, Issac Della Valle, 4, Shayla Bowen, 3, Nikita Sadler, 4, educator Jacquelin Sim and Jazlyn Leahy, 3. Picture: Louise White

The downturn in the mining industry and exodus of people from Kalgoorlie-Boulder has flowed through to childcare centres in the Goldfields.

The sector has reported long waiting lists and difficulty accommodating demand from mining families in previous years.

The lukewarm job market and an increase in regulation for providers is now impacting the bottom line of childcare centres across the region.

Goldfields Childcare Centre acting director Kirsty Fisher said affordability has also limited access to the service.

“It’s just ridiculously quiet,” she said.

“People aren’t using it like they used to. We used to get a lot of full-time people, but now they are doing smaller days and attendance, because no one can afford it.”

The community-based not-for-profit has had its waiting list drop by more than 50 per cent since the start of the year.

“The childcare industry has so many regulations, everyone has to be highly qualified now and have high (staff) ratios to children on the floor and that costs money,” Ms Fisher said.

“So fees are going up and it becomes unaffordable for parents.”

“Even though we are a community-based not-for-profit it still makes it hard for parents to pay childcare fees, especially when the mining industry is so quiet at the moment.”

On top of the fall in demand, proposed changes to the Child Care Rebate could potentially jeopardise the business, according to Ms Fisher.

“There is going to be a rate rise every year and some centres in town are double our price,” she said.

“We’re going to be looking at some stage at the end of the year where our prices will have to go up as well, because it’s just unsustainable for us.

“If the rebate drops, we don’t have a business.”

Source Article from https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/news/24643816/childcare-centres-hit-by-downturn-regulations/
Childcare centres hit by downturn, regulations
https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/news/24643816/childcare-centres-hit-by-downturn-regulations/
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