It is increasingly clear that State and Federal Labor Governments have failed to handle the ABC Learning Centres tender process effectively, with the increasingly likely prospect of centres being forced to close temporarily due to paperwork issues.
“State and Federal Labor have failed to advise the community about the future of their local childcare centres even though the deadline for processing licences is fast approaching,” western Sydney based Liberal Senator Marise Payne said.
“Families need certainty that their child’s centre will not be closed temporarily due to a failure to process licences.
“Licences must be processed before the 31 March funding deadline, which means state authorities will have less than half the time they usually take to process these licences. To add to this concern is that there are so many centres applying at the same time.
“Working families have enough to worry about with the current economic climate without having to worry about their childcare centres being closed due to the lack of a licence,” said Senator Payne.
Education Minister Julia Gillard’s failure to advise parents about what will happen if the centres do not have licences processed in time shows the government’s mishandling of the affair.
“The minister is presumably relying on the State Government to process the licences in a far shorter timeline than normal, and with a much higher workload due to the number of new licences being required,” Senator Payne said.
“Given the NSW Government’s repeated failure to fulfill its core responsibilities, it is a massive leap of faith for the Rudd Government to expect these licences to be processed in less than half the normal amount of time.
“Families need this matter settled now, not if and when Labor finally gets its act together,” Senator Payne said.
Senator Payne repeated the call of the Coalition and urged Education Minister Julia Gillard to show leadership and seek an agreement with the States for interim licensing arrangements to ensure continuity of services.