ECEC in Charlton on hold
The Sector > Economics > Affordability & Accessibility > ECEC in Charlton on hold: Building is available, but there’s no provider to be found

ECEC in Charlton on hold: Building is available, but there’s no provider to be found

by Freya Lucas

June 09, 2023

Families in Charlton Victoria are facing severe challenges when it comes to accessing early childhood education and care (ECEC). 


A long day care service, funded by the Victorian Government, was constructed in 2021, however no provider has come forward to operate the service, leaving the community seeking assistance and support. 


Buloke Shire, in which Charlton is located, has been ‘excluded’ from the Federal Government’s Community Child Care Fund (CCCF). 


Member for Mallee Anne Webster has written to Federal Early Childhood Education Minister, Anne Aly, urging her to intervene, local paper, the Buloke Times noted.


“The CCCF was established by the Coalition Government with the purpose of addressing the issue of Childcare Deserts, ensuring that families in regional areas have access to the vital support they need so that parents who want to can get back to work,” Dr Webster said.


“As with all other services, childcare is in short supply in regional communities,” she continued. 


“This means parents who could be working, in the healthcare system as nurses for instance, are prevented from doing so for want of adequate childcare. This is a perverse situation when you consider how badly nurses – among a range of other professions across many sectors – are needed in the regions.”


A kindergarten room opened in the building but only offers part-time hours. With no alternative options for ECEC nearby, families are struggling. 


“What exacerbates this issue is the absence of alternative childcare options nearby,” Dr Webster said.


“The next closest childcare facility is a 120-kilometre daily round trip – a journey that is simply unfeasible for parents living in Charlton,” Dr Webster said. 


“As a result, these parents find themselves in a deeply distressing situation where they are unable to return to work due to the lack of accessible and affordable childcare services.”


Dr Webster said urgent action was needed to address “the glaring inequity” faced by families in Charlton, and other regional towns in Mallee including Donald, Horsham and Nhill.


“Families, regardless of where they live, ought to have equal access to quality childcare services so they can contribute to the desperate workforce shortfalls across the nation, especially in regional towns,” she said. 


This piece first appeared in the Buloke Times. Access the original here

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