Augusta community forms committee to address increasing shortage of ECEC places

Augusta community forms committee to address increasing shortage of ECEC places

by Freya Lucas

December 10, 2020

A band of residents living in the West Australian town of Augusta, which faces the Southern and Indian Oceans at Cape Leeuwin, 320 km south west of Perth have decided to form a committee to address an increasing shortage of childcare places in the region. 


The committee are currently waiting on confirmation of a successful seed-funding grant from the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River to support the future Augusta Community Childcare Centre, local news source The West Australian said


To be run as a not-for-profit organisation, similar to the community childcare centre in Margaret River, volunteer co-ordinator Jasmine Meagher said the proposed service would accommodate 24 children each day, and has a view to operating an intergenerational program also. 


The availability of early childhood education and care (ECEC) services is “an issue across the whole Shire,” Ms Meagher said, and ties in with challenges relating to housing availability across the region. 


A number of new residents have flocked to the area looking for a “sea change” post COVID-19, at the same time as pressure for early childhood places was increased by the closure of a popular local family daycare operation.


Augusta Chamber of Commerce president Andrea Lindsay said Augusta “was now short about 50 places for child care,” leaving parents needing to drive to Margaret River, approximately 30 minutes away, before returning to Augusta to work. 


Ms Meagher said it was ironic to face a childcare shortage after years of trying to lure young families to Augusta, saying the biggest issue in getting the service up and running would be staffing. 


At the time of going to press, the Shire grant application had not yet been finalised, with Shire corporate and community services director James Shepherd saying the logistics of how best to serve Augusta were the focus of talks.


To read the original coverage of this story, please see here