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Childcare centre not tempted to enter funding "lottery"

Tuesday, 7th May, 2013

Busy Kids Childcare owner Jenny French (left) and Federal MP Sussan Ley with (from left) Natalia Kloczko, Jai Mercer and Tadam Morri Busy Kids Childcare owner Jenny French (left) and Federal MP Sussan Ley with (from left) Natalia Kloczko, Jai Mercer and Tadam Morri

By Erica Visser

Federal Member Sussan Ley has joined in the backlash against the Federal Government over a $300 million grant for childcare workers, which local providers will probably not see.

The grant scheme would fund a staff wage rise of $3 to $5 an hour; but only for the 30 per cent of childcare centres who are "first in best dressed".

The largest childcare association in Australia, Australian Childcare Alliance (ACA), has warned that fees could rise by as much as $10 a day as a result.

ACA President Gwynn Bridge proposed that all childcare workers be given a rise of $1 per hour instead.

"Funding on a firstin- first served basis does not reward all educators who are already delivering a high quality of care, nor will it target those rural and remote services that face workforce availability challenges every single day," she said.

Ms Ley criticised the problems with the grants scheme at Busy Kids Childcare in Bagot Street yesterday.

"I just think that some really good quality providers are going to miss out and feel sidelined by this government," she said.

"All that they have delivered is a cruel hoax."

Ms Ley also criticised the United Voice union, which she said was trying to fool providers into joining.

"It's a bid to gain more membership by tricking providers ... into $550 membership per year, by telling them they can expect this funding if they join, when really you don't need to join the union to apply for the funding and there are no guarantees."

Owner of Busy Kids, Jenny French, said that she was not a member of the union and had recently received a letter urging her to join up to get the funding.

She said that she was not tempted.

"No, I won't be joining up. When I found out what they were doing I thought 'what a crock'," she said.

"I think it's very unfair to say that if you join the union you are eligible, when you're already eligible anyway."

Mrs French said that she would apply for the funding but she was not hopeful of receiving it.

"The problem I find is being a rural centre, before it even starts we're already behind the eight ball.

"How's it going to be judged? By the number of workers or whose paperwork arrives first?

"Let's face it, the majority of us are going to miss out."

Ms Ley urged the government to rethink the "badly-structured" reforms.

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