Couple steps in to fill childcare gap
Friday, 7th October, 2011
By Erica Visser
A new childcare centre is due to open soon following the closure of the Lilliput Early Learning centre in July.
Jenny and David French will operate their ‘Busy Kids’ centre at the former Lilliput site which they have bought.
It will be open to children over the age of two but the local couple say they plan to include younger infants once the centre is established.
Local MP and Shadow Minister for Childcare and Early Childhood Learning, Sussan Ley, said that the new centre will help to fill a void.
“There certainly appears to be a demand for places around Broken Hill,” Ms Ley said.
“It is like any business; if that demand can be met with the right service and price there’s no reason why they shouldn’t prosper.”
But Ms Ley said that any new child centre could struggle as a result of the Federal Government changing the mandatory child-to-carer ratio from 1:5 to 1:4.
The change in the rules played a big part in the decision by Lilliput’s owners to close, she said.
“My real concern lies with the Federal Government’s mandatory new rules and child-to-carer ratios which is making business in the childcare sector a much tougher prospect than it needs to be right now,” said Ms Ley.
She said that despite the challenges, there was still hope for the new centre.
“Busy Kids seem to be taking the right approach to getting this centre back on its feet,” Ms Ley said.
“The new owners, Jenny and David, have been in contact and we have written to the Minister for Childcare on their behalf to ascertain what assistance may be available.”