Council decision to close ECEC service after 30 years leaves families shocked

Council decision to close ECEC service after 30 years leaves families shocked

by Freya Lucas

April 05, 2022

A council-run inner city early childhood education and care (ECEC) service in Perth will close in September after more than 30 years in operation, leaving parents upset and concerned about their future options for not for profit care which suits their needs. 


The City of Perth operates the Citiplace Child Care Centre and said that the decision had been made as a result of the service continuing to run at “a significant loss.” The service is licensed for 71 places, however only has 53 enrolments. The premises will be leased to a private provider once the service ceases operation under the Council. 


Former City of Perth councillor Reece Harley contacted ABC Radio Perth in relation to the decision, speaking not only as a former council member but also as a parent with his son currently attending Citiplace. 


He told host Nadia Mitsopoulos that staff had been informed of the decision by senior executives at Citiplace, who told them the Council had held a “behind closed doors” meeting and elected to close the centre. 


Mr Harley told the ABC he had asked council for the marketing program for the centre but had not received a response.


“I think unfortunately, over a long period of time, the Council has just not invested the money, not prioritised that as an important city service,” he said.


In response to the concerns Perth’s Lord Mayor Basil Zempilas said it was a “prudent” decision on behalf of ratepayers to allow private operators to take over.


“There is not the same need for the City of Perth to be providing childcare facilities now as there once was,” he said.


“A recent report into childcare across Australia recognised Perth city was one of six areas in Western Australia which had enough places to meet demand. I would like to thank all of our City of Perth staff who worked at the centre over three decades and all those families who used its services.”


To read the ABC coverage of this story please see here