CHILD CARE CHALLENGES COMMUNITY
Lack of child care facilities and the rebate worries the community
THE North Burnett region is facing a shortage of family day care centres which is concerning for young families.
Young parent Laura Wren lives in Gayndah and said she had to return to work early despite being on maternity leave.
“We have a good amount of kindergartens in the region, it’s just we don’t have enough child care facilities which is very disappointing,” Mrs Wren said.
She said government rebate changes also proved challenging.
“The big issue centrally in the Burnett region is the potential for the rebate schemes to end leaving parents out of pocket.
“This new scheme will mean people aren’t inclined to do child care and families may not be able to afford it.”
Mrs Wren said child care was an important asset to the community and without it, families would struggle to work consistently.
“We need quality child care facilities in the region as it boosts our children’s ability as well as quality programs to get the same start to life in rural areas compared to metropolitan areas,” she said.
“Family day care is important to people of the Burnett region, if we aren’t supporting those who look after our kids then it leads to problems of unemployment.”
Mrs Wren is not alone in
The North Burnett Regional Council compiled a report investigating the matter, interviewing 63 parents.
The report found 53% of respondents were not happy with the current level of care services in the Burnett.
Over 54% of respondents have labelled child care availability as “inadequate” with 49% of respondents
believing more care options would result in a “strong increase of employment within the North Burnett”.
The flexibility of current child care options has also been “lacking” according to 44% of respondents to the survey.
Gayndah parent Rebecca Holden said she felt fortunate to have a workplace who understood her needs as a parent.
“For a town it’s not appealing for parents to come here because if you don’t have a quality professional daycare, it’s a lot harder,” Mrs Holden said.
“We have a beautiful daycare (worker) now and she treats our daughter as her own, and she feels terrible when she has to turn other parents away due to over capacity.
“With the rebate gone, it’s almost (not worth going back to work) and staying home, as it’d be too expensive and all you’re doing is working to live.”
According to mychild. gov.au, the average day care fees for North Burnett families is $66.50 which is projected to increase to $77.02 per day in 2018.
PRESSING ISSUE: Karen Mendoza and Laura Wren with their children at Lions Park in Gayndah.