SNAICC shares Anmatjere community ECEC struggles with Senate Committee
The Sector > Workforce > Advocacy > SNAICC shares Anmatjere community ECEC struggles with Senate Committee

SNAICC shares Anmatjere community ECEC struggles with Senate Committee

by Freya Lucas

September 26, 2022

SNAICC – National Voice for Our Children has shared the struggles that people in the Anmatjere community in Northern Territory face when it comes to accessing early childhood education and care (ECEC), with 0.0 places per child. 


Located approximately 200km north of Alice Springs, the region can be classified as a childcare desert according to the Mitchell Institute’s Childcare Deserts report


Community members were able to share their struggles with the Senate Committee into Work and Care, with Estelle Carter saying family is the only option people have when it comes to childcare. 


“The grandmothers are the ones looking after the babies while the mothers are trying to empower themselves and provide for their families,” she explained.


“We want our children not to have that gap in their education. We want them to have that social engagement, that routine to get them ready, so when they get to that school stage they’re settled.”


People in the Anmatjere region in the Northern Territory have been calling for more than 12 years for access to early childhood education and care in the town of Ti Tree, about 200kms north of Alice Springs.


The recent Voices from Community video compiles the concerns of community members who have been running a community-led campaign for local early childhood services. The video formed part of the SNAICC submission and evidence to the Senate Select Committee on Work and Care.


An absence of ECEC services in the community is having a profound impact, SNAICC CEO Catherine Liddle explained. 


“The community members in this video represent only a fraction of families and education professionals who live in Ti Tree. Some parents have had to travel an almost 400km round trip just to ensure their children receive early years education.”


“Leaving an entire community with such a deficit in educational services puts the healthy development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children at risk and perpetuates unjust cycles of disadvantage,” she continued.


“Parents, mostly women, also face barriers to secure employment and educational opportunities as a flow-on effect if they cannot find alternative care for their children. The people of Ti Tree have been calling for this essential service for over 12 years. That’s 12 years too long.”


Community member Emma Cole works in aged care and is expecting a baby.


“I’m really worried for once I do have my baby and not being able to go back to work, and not having support,” she said. 


Her perspective was backed by fellow community member Toru Atiola who has tried to keep one of her children in early education, however this involves travelling 190km both ways to get to the nearest centre.


“I know I would have loved to have studied part-time or even got a part-time job, but it just wasn’t an option for us here in Ti Tree. Having a childcare centre would be so beneficial to a lot of families here.”


Watch SNAICC will be giving evidence to the Senate Select Committee on Work and Care here. 

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