Centre Alliance candidate says childcare woes are driving families out of Port Lincoln
Andrea Broadfoot, Centre Alliance Candidate for Grey, a rural electorate in South Australia, has said a “critical shortage” in childcare places is forcing young families to leave Port Lincoln, given the lack of provision for both parents in a family to work at the same time.
Ms Broadfood labelled the situation “completely and utterly unacceptable” and has committed to tackling the issue “head on” if elected at Saturday’s federal election.
Having spoken with local constituents, Ms Broadfood claimed that “highly qualified professional women have not been able to return to work after having children because they cannot access childcare in the city”.
“I have spoken to women whose maternity leave concludes on 30 June, and the lack of available childcare places has forced these women and their families to seriously contemplate remaining in Port Lincoln if they have to resort to being on only one income permanently,” Ms Broadfoot claimed.
One case Ms Broadfoot became aware of during her consultations was of a mother who contacted her concerned about her role as Director of an early childhood education and care (ECEC) service in Port Lincoln, who is unable to secure childcare for her three young children to allow her to return to work, leaving the family “seriously considering the option of her husband working part time so they can juggle caring for their children”.
Ms Broadfoot called for “an immediate review to ensure funding is allocated to ensure more childcare placements can be opened up, and/or new childcare facilities established in the town.”
“I believe there is a priority system that childcare centres are supposed to adopt with the first priority being abused or neglected children, the second priority is parents with a disability, those who are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, single parents and working families, and the third priority is everyone else,” Ms Broadfoot said.
She revealed she has investigated allocations for funding for the electorate through the Community Child Care Fund (CCCF), designed to provide grants to services to reduce barriers to accessing child care, particularly in disadvantaged, regional and remote communities.
She said the CCCF grants are offered to childcare services to address barriers to participation – in particular in disadvantaged communities – including those experiencing viability issues and provide capital support to increase the number of child care placements in areas of high demand.
“Port Lincoln Children’s Centre did receive some funding in the last round but this does not appear to have translated to additional places or infrastructure upgrades that will address the unmet demand.
“It is clear to me that a proactive approach is needed so that additional resources can be allocated for parents to be able to work. If elected, I am committed to solving this issue for the many working families right across Grey impacted by this chronic shortage,” Ms Broadfoot outlined in closing.