QLD NFP provider shuts doors following “ten years of losses”
Queensland not for profit (NFP) early childhood education and care (ECEC) provider, South Burnett CTC advised staff and parents on 7 February that childcare services in Nanango, Queensland, would be closing, effective 29 March, following “ten years of [financial] losses”.
Describing the decision as “a very painful one”, South Burnett CEO Nina Temperton said negotiations to find a way to keep the services open had been underway for three years with other providers and Queensland’s Department of Education.
“CTC has finally given up,” Mrs Temperton said. “We are a NFP organisation and just can’t continue to cover the losses that these services have been incurring for the past 10 years.
“We know some people are upset but the truth is we have looked hard and cannot see any other alternative.”
Ms Temperton’s comments mirror those made by Albury Wodonga Community College (AWCC) Chairman, Kevin Poulton, in relation to the pending closure of AWCC run services, halted only through intervention from state and federal governments.
At the time, Mr Poulton was quoted as saying AWCC had “underwritten average annual losses of $30,000 for the past eight years”, but that the introduction of CCS had “increased the losses tenfold”.
The services affected by the March South Burnett CTC closures will include an out of school hours care (OSHC) program, a childcare centre and a preschool service.
“We began providing these programs at the request of the Queensland Department of Education in order to assist working parents,” Ms Temperton said. “We expected to eventually break even financially but never achieved that goal and in fact made heavy losses every year for 10 years. We simply can no longer sustain this.”
Ms Temperton said she recognised that the children using the OSHC program who attend every weekday will be the hardest affected until an alternative provider is found.
She expressed that South Burnett CTC had “tried for the past three years, in conjunction with the Queensland Department of Education, to find another organisation to take over the service but in the last few days all hopes were dashed when the latest tenderer dropped out.”
The Nanango Childcare Centre will stop operating under the CTC banner on 29 March, however it is possible that the property may be leased by another local childcare provider.
“Negotiations are well advanced and depending on a successful transfer of licences we are hopeful of a good outcome,” Ms Temperton said, expressing her hope that many of the 16 staff who worked across the three sites would be retained by the incoming provider.
“We tried our level best for a long time – far too long for our own good – and it is most upsetting that we finally have to give up,” Ms Temperton said in closing. “The CTC staff and Board are doing their utmost to identify other options for both parents and employees.”