Church in Mt Isa closes ECEC as shortages continue
The Sector > Economics > Affordability & Accessibility > Church in Mount Isa will close ECEC service in November as workforce pressure mounts

Church in Mount Isa will close ECEC service in November as workforce pressure mounts

by Freya Lucas

August 23, 2023

St Paul’s Lutheran Church will close its early childhood education and care (ECEC) service in November leaving 50 families looking for care in the mining town, the ABC has reported


Ongoing costs and recruitment issues were cited as the main reasons for the centre’s pending closure, leaving local businesses calling for urgent intervention to address Australia’s ECEC workforce shortages. 


Other ECEC services in the town are “overwhelmed” with waiting lists with more than 300 names on them, and parents affected by the closure are indicating that they will now be scaling back their own employment opportunities in order to care for their children. 


“Despite our best efforts, we have now exhausted all avenues to keep the centre open,” said Service Director Ann-Marie Davis, adding that the decision had been “several years in the making”. 


A spokesperson for Mary Mackillop Childcare North Queensland (MMCNQ) said the biggest barrier to expanding the capacity of ECEC services in Mount Isa is a lack of staff due to the national shortage of early educators.


Low wages are a barrier to working in the sector nationwide, however the issue is compounded in rural areas, the spokesperson said. 


“While many education and care providers try to remunerate staff above the award wage to attract qualified educators out to these areas, we are often challenged to retain staff in small towns,” they continued. 


To access the ABC coverage of this story, please see here. 

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