NAMS chairwoman says CCS doesn’t work for rural communities, claims favouritism

by Freya Lucas

December 07, 2018

The chairwoman of the National Association of Mobile Services for Rural and Remote Families and Children (NAMS), Anne Bowler, has reportedly used a meeting about the pending closure of seven mobile services in the Albury Wodonga region to share her view that the cessation of the Budget Based Funding model for rural areas is “inadequate” and “favoured private sector operators only interested in servicing major centres”

 

“To this date no corporate service or private operator has come into a rural context because it’s not viable and not profitable.” Ms Bowler allegedly said.

 

The Border Mail reports Ms Bowler’s comments as being made during a meeting held yesterday with parents who will be impacted by the closure of the Bellbridge service, ahead of the round table meetings proposed by Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan last week in response to concerns raised by Member for Indi, Cathy McGowan.

 

The meeting reportedly heard some parents affected by the closures had yet to be notified by the approved provider of the services – Albury Wodonga Community College (AWCC), and that employees who will lose their positions had only been informed after the news was shared through the media.

 

The Border Mail has reported the timing for the round table meetings, said to take place on Monday December 17, also sharing that Mr Tehan will not be in attendance, reporting that Craig Laundy, Member for Reid, will instead be representing Mr Tehan.

 

Ms McGowan will also reportedly attend the meetings, alongside Member for Farrer, Sussan Ley, having focused on the sustainability of small rural childcare centres since 2016, with an increased focus on the issue ahead of the introduction of the child care subsidy (CCS) this year.

 

“In February 2017 I proposed amendments to the Government’s Omnibus Bill to ensure these childcare services would not be adversely impacted by the Government’s reforms” Ms McGowan said.

 

“The Government sought to ‘transition’ these services across Australia. Community childcare operators had indicated that without certainty of funding, they would not be able to continue, and would be forced to close. Sadly, these fears have been realised”

 

Describing the seven mobile services slated to close as having provided a “really good model of childcare for rural families”, Ms McGowan described the loss of the services as “devastating”.

 

“The participation in the workforce by women in rural and regional Australia depends on sustainable and suitable childcare” Ms McGowan said.

 

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