Occasional Care centre to close with council citing lack of demand, regulatory burden
An occasional care centre in Mosman, an affluent suburb in Sydney’s lower North Shore, will close later this year, following a recent announcement by the Mosman Council. Mosman Occasional Childcare Centre (MOCC) is the only council-funded childcare facility in the area, running at a considerably cheaper hourly cost than its numerous local competitors.
Following the announcement, a number of local parents have formed the Save Mosman community alliance to lobby Mosman Council, who reportedly plans to use the MOCC facilities as a sporting centre. Speaking with The Daily Telegraph, alliance member Alison Lee, who has used the centre as a care option for her daughter, said she was dismayed by the closure, which she views as an essential service for families in the Mosman community.
Ms Lee told The Daily Telegraph that the service was valuable for her family whilst she was using parental leave, with many centres in the area prohibitively costed, and unable to provide casual care.
Alliance member Victoria Quayle pointed out the flaws she saw in Mosman Council’s response that there were a number of early childhood education and care (ECEC) providers in the area, saying the lack of casual care, or two day minimum requirements, highlight the need for local families to have affordable and flexible options.
In a statement reportedly issued to parents using the service, by Mosman Council, families were told that “while the Council was not aware of any other services in the Mosman area providing centre-based occasional care, demand appears to be quite low and the licensing requirements to provide occasional care elsewhere are the same as those for building a new childcare centre or refitting an existing building as a childcare facility.”
The statement referred families to other ECEC facilities within the are saying Mosman was “well served for long day care” with “sufficient places to satisfy current demand”.
MOCC currently operates on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 8am to 4pm. Occasional care fees for children from two to five years of age are $16.50 per hour. For children under two year of age, the fee is $18.00 per hour. Families are also able to make regular bookings, with the permanent day rate being $107 per day for children two to five years of age, and $117 for children under two. Families must also pay an annual registration fee of $55 to access the service. MOCC is an approved provider, with families eligible for childcare subsidy.