Search continues for replacement provider following BBF withdrawal in Albury Wodonga
The Indigo Shire Council has released a statement outlining the next steps in the search for a new provider of early years services in Chiltern, following an announcement last year by Albury Wodonga Community College (AWCC) that they would no longer service the region.
In December 2018, The Sector began reporting on concerns about childcare in the region, with a number of services being put in jeopardy following the transition to the Child Care Subsidy (CCS) on 1 July 2018, having previously been funded through a budget-based funding model.
The dual impact of the funding change and lower attendance at some venues had applied financial pressure to the services, prompting AWCC to announce they would no longer be providing early learning services.
At the time, AWCC Chairman Kevin Poulton was quoted in The Border Mail 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 accumulated losses are well beyond our capacity to sustain and it is our view there is little likelihood of any significant government policy change that would rectify the present monthly losses or repay the significant funds AWCC has used to support (community early years centres) service locations,” The Border Mail quoted Mr Poulton as saying.
Since that time, council officers have met with potential providers, as well as parents and other services users. “There is clear support for the services to continue to meet the needs of the growing number of families in the wider Chiltern region” a Council spokesperson said.
As a result, an Expression of Interest process will open next week to identify a new provider of childcare, kindergarten and out of school hours care services in Chiltern.
Submissions will close on 3 February, 2020 and a panel consisting of a Councillor, Council officers and community representatives will assess these. It is anticipated that a recommendation will be made to Council at its March 2020 meeting.
The outcome of the EOI process will be for Council to recommend a preferred provider. The final determination regarding provision of all or some of these services will be contingent upon services meeting all the licencing, regulation and accreditation standards required under State and Commonwealth legislation.
The Council noted that AWCC had “been very supportive” of the EOI process and continues to provide information to assist with the transition.