Last minute reprieve for some Albury Wodonga services caught in AWCC closure
Federal Independent Member for Indi, Cathy McGowan, has welcomed progress in providing early childhood education and care (ECEC) services for children and families in the Albury Wodonga region affected by the closure of mobile childcare services previously provided by Albury Wodonga Community College (AWCC).
Ms McGowan had previously raised her concerns with Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan, in relation to the closure of mobile childcare services in the Albury Wodonga region. Several families came forward to express their concerns about the impact of the closures on the community, with Ms McGowan seeking urgent intervention from Mr Tehan in support.
The closures made by AWCC were said to have been caused by the impact of changes to the Child Care Subsidy (CCS) which AWCC chairman Kevin Poulton said had led to “accumulated losses well beyond our capacity to sustain”
Ms McGowan outlined that a meeting had taken place in Wodonga on 17 December to address the closures of centres in Mitta, Walwa, Kergunyah, Baranduda and Bellbridge in North East Victoria, and Henty and Walla in New South Wales.
As a result of the meeting, Ms McGowan said, the Federal Department of Education and Training “has confirmed the Towong Shire and Wodonga TAFE have come forward to express an interest in operating services in Walwa, Bellbridge and Mitta from January 2019.”
Kergunyah remains under consideration by providers, with discussions continuing about the future of the Baranduda centre, Ms McGowan added.
Greater Hume Council are on track to re-open the centres in Henty and Walla in the new year, according to information circulated by WIN News Albury.
“I thank Minister Dan Tehan and his staff; the Department of Education and Training; Indigo, Towong and Greater Hume councils; and Wodonga TAFE, who have been involved in discussions with communities and providers since Monday to find solutions for these families,” Ms McGowan said.
“There is still a lot of work to be done but there is tremendous goodwill among the parties to ensure these children can continue to be cared for in their communities.
“I look forward to seeing further progress in the new year on interim and permanent arrangements for these centres, supported by Federal Government funding.” she said in closing.