Big Childcare reportedly exits service provision in Albury West
The Sector > Economics > Affordability & Accessibility > Big Childcare withdraws from OSHC services at Albury West, leaving parents worried

Big Childcare withdraws from OSHC services at Albury West, leaving parents worried

by Freya Lucas

April 12, 2023
A closed sign is shown against a black background

The outside school hours care (OSHC) program operated by Big Childcare at Albury West Public School in regional New South Wales is reportedly closing, with a number of service users approaching ABC to share their concerns over the impact of the closure to local families. 


Big Childcare operates services across Australia, with 80 in Victoria, 35 in New South Wales, and several in Queensland and Western Australia. It is understood that Albury West is not the only site which will close, with the company saying the impact of staffing challenges, particularly in regional areas, along with financial viability concerns are driving the closures. 


Families using the Albury West service have been informed via email that the OSHC will close after the upcoming school holidays, leaving many families, but especially those without additional support, wondering how they will manage their work and home responsibilities. 


Brooke Cotter is a single parent who uses the service for her six year old, and she shared with the ABC that she is concerned about what will happen following an upcoming surgery she has scheduled, which will mean she will be unable to drive for six weeks. 


“There is no plan B. It’s impossible to get kids into any sort of care, especially midterm, everyone knows that,” she said, expressing concern that while there are some other local providers, they are at capacity, with many parents on their waiting lists. 


Currently Ms Cotter is living on a rural property just outside of town, and said the only way her son would be able to access an alternative OSHC program would be to change schools, which would also involve her moving house, something which she said is simply not an option. 


In its email, Big Childcare said the company had been in discussions with School Infrastructure NSW​​​ since earlier this year and that the decision to cease some of its services had not been made lightly.


The major factors that contributed to the closure, the email continued, were financial pressures, and in some cases problems attracting a consistent pool of staff in the area. A former employee of Big Childcare, who spoke with the ABC on the condition of anonymity, said the problem of staffing is not unique to Big Childcare. 


“There are a lot of other companies that are in the same boat,” the former employee said.


“A lot of educators [are lost] because they’ve been offered a teaching job. It all comes down to wages,” they added.


Big Childcare was contacted for comment by the ABC but failed to respond prior to publication. To read the original coverage of this story, please see here

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