Is­land kindy un­der threat

Townsville Bulletin - - News - by Ryan Mathe­son ryan. mathe­son@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

MAG­NETIC Is­land is in the midst of a child­care cri­sis af­ter fund­ing to the is­land’s sole cen­tre was cut by the State Gov­ern­ment.

Fund­ing for Lim­ited Hours C a r e s e r v i c e p r o v i d e r s across Queens­land are set to cease from June this year.

The Queens­land gov­ern­ment has been forced to carry the fi­nan­cial costs associated with the ser­vices af­ter the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment chose t o with­draw fund­ing to 39 Lim­ited Hours Care ser­vices in com­mu­ni­ties across Queens­land from July 2010.

C & K Mag­netic Is­land is one of a num­ber of Lim­ited Hours Care providers which re­lies on the fund­ing to op­er­ate ef­fi­ciently.

Lo­cal mother Heather Collins said the fund­ing cuts were a ma­jor cause for concern within the is­land com­mu­nity.

‘‘ I live on Mag­netic Is­land and my hus­band and I both c o m m u t e e v e r y d a y t o Townsville for our jobs,’’ she said.

‘‘ At this stage it is un­clear if the fund­ing cuts will mean an in­crease in fees or clo­sure of the cen­tre all to­gether.’’

Mrs Collins said the sit­u­a­tion formed part of an on­go­ing is­sue on the is­land.

‘‘ Last year a num­ber of fam­i­lies ap­proached C & K and asked them to ex­tend their hours for the kindy pro­gram be­cause it was just not fea­si­ble to have our chil­dren en­rolled in kindy and still be able to work a full day our­selves,’’ she said.

Es­tab­lished in 1907, C& K Queens­land stands as the largest and long­est es­tab­lished provider of com­mu­nity-based early child­hood ed­u­ca­tion and care ser­vices across the state.

Branch op­er­a­tions con­sul­tants will hold a cri­sis meet­ing at the cen­tre tonight at 6.30pm t o pro­vide i nfor­ma­tion for con­cerned cus­tomers.

Queens­land Gov­ern­ment as­so­ciate di­rec­tor-gen­eral of Early Child­hood Ed­u­ca­tion and Care Zea John­ston said the depart­ment was left to deal with the af­ter­math.

‘‘ Since the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment with­drew its share of fund­ing from July last year, Queens­land has picked up the short­fall to fully fund t hese highly val­ued ser­vices,’’ she said.

‘‘ These Lim­ited Hours Care ser­vices had been jointly funded by the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment and Queens­land Gov­ern­ment for around two decades.

‘‘ Queens­land has guar­an­teed full fund­ing for Lim­ited Hours Care un­til at least June 2011 and has strongly ad­vo­cated for the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment to ur­gently re­in­state its fair share of the fund­ing.

‘‘ The State Gov­ern­ment is cur­rently re­view­ing Lim­ited Hours Care ser­vices to de­velop op­tions for the fu­ture.

‘‘ The re­view is not yet com­plete and all ser­vices will be ad­vised of the out­come in the near fu­ture.’’

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