Locals left shocked after Augusta-Margaret River Shire Council fails to support ECEC
The Sector > Economics > Property > Locals left shocked after Augusta-Margaret River Shire Council fails to support ECEC

Locals left shocked after Augusta-Margaret River Shire Council fails to support ECEC

by Freya Lucas

September 12, 2022

Councillors from Western Australia’s Augusta-Margaret River Shire Council have “shocked the Augusta community” by failing to support a push for a community childcare service led by a group of local mothers, local news source Augusta Margaret River Times has reported


Instead of supporting an alternative motion put forward by Deputy Shire President Julia Meldrum to invest $600,000 to redevelop parts of Augusta’s rundown recreation centre, the Council are opting to try and generate more interest in locals offering family day care (FDC) services. 


The Council will offer $50,000 to subsidise FDC operations, rejecting an agreed plan to upgrade the Augusta Recreation Centre to offer a not-for-profit early childhood education and care (ECEC) service because tenders came in above the $850,000 in allocated funds.


WA Regulatory Authority the Department of Communities had previously offered the use of a house on Hillview Street, however the lobby group rejected this suggestion, saying it was “in a bad position and inadequate to host the growing number of Augusta families crying out for childcare”.


Spokesperson for the lobby group Jasmine Meagher has previously expressed the Group’s position that employment and the future growth of Augusta are under threat because of the shortage in ECEC options. 


A report from the Council, however, outlines a number of options which have been investigated , delivering a detailed demand analysis across different childcare models.


“Commercial childcare service providers consulted by the shire have indicated that demand is not sufficient for them to confidently invest in providing childcare services in the Augusta district at this time,” the report notes.


The Augusta group’s success in running vacation childcare programs ultimately went against them in the report, which found that since their program was successful, no further support for this approach was needed and children attending were 20 or fewer.


Ms Meagher told the Times her team was disappointed with the outcome, noting that even if the FDC incentive program is a success, it would only provide care for five children, while the group has 45 children needing care, and 65 needing before and after school care, and vacation care. 


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

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