Island kindy under threat
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.’’