Budget Based Funding Cut Affecting Rural Australia
Families from across the Albury Wodonga region accessing “vital early education services” are being left in the lurch as a result of the pending closure of Albury Wodonga Community College (AWCC)-run mobile childcare services, Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education and Development Amanda Rishworth has said.
Families in Mitta, Walwa, Bellbridge, Baranduda, Kergunyah (Victoria), Henty and Walla (NSW) have been “left in limbo”, Ms Rishworth said, saying AWCC relied on the Budget Based Funded (BBF) program to provide early education services to rural and regional families in outlying towns of Albury Wodonga.
Under the transition to the child care subsidy (CCS),the BBF program has been dismantled, and regional services “have been told to become commercially self sufficient,” Ms Rishworth said, citing the closures as evidence of “the long held Australian Labor Party position that these cuts will see more and more rural and regional services forced to the wall.”
Families in the region faced a variety of social, emotional, cultural and geographic isolation and barriers in terms of accessing services, Ms Rishworth said, calling for this to improve.
“Services like that of AWCC provide a vital social and education service – and yet this government has ripped away critical funding resulting in children without access to early education. The government needs to recognise that rural and remote and Indigenous mobile services around Australia are vital community services,” Ms Rishworth said.
Describing the closure as “particularly galling”, Ms Rishworth questioned the silence of the National Party of Australia around the closure of services in regional Australia, noting the Department of Education confirmation of 19 services which have already been forced to close down due to the CCS transition. “This list will continue to grow. Rural and remote families deserve better,” Ms Rishworth said.