Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Plan B must be revealed for ABC Learning.

Download PDFDownload PDF

Thursday 6 November 2008

Plan B must be revealed for ABC Learning

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young says there can be no further delay in informing Australian parents and childcare workers about how contingency plans flagged by the Federal Government will be rolled out, following today’s collapse of ABC Learning Centres.

ABC Learning, which runs 1200 childcare centres in Australia and New Zealand, appointed administrators today after months of financial troubles.

“The biggest player in Australian childcare has just folded, with the possibility of now taking 100,000 long daycare places with it,” said Senator Hanson-Young.

“Despite reassurances that centres will remain open, it’s clear the company’s in bad shape. Parents need to know where their children can go if the doors can’t stay open.

“The thousands of workers employed by ABC Learning also need to know what their futures hold.”

Senator Hanson-Young said the fact that ABC Learning received 44 per cent of its revenue from the Federal Government was a sign that the not-for-profit childcare sector needed more government support.

“This huge company was propped up by Australian taxpayers, with nearly half of its revenue coming from government subsidies,” she said.

“That money could have been invested into community-based, not-for-profit childcare centres, which would not have run the risk of corporate collapse like ABC Learning.

“The care and learning of our children is far too important to be treated purely as a money-making venture.

“The silver lining of ABC Learning’s demise could be that, with help from the Federal Government, some of the centres could be returned to the community sector.”

Senator Hanson-Young said that the ABC example showed that childcare was an important issue needing immediate attention.

“Last year we had more babies born in Australia than ever before, a significant number of whom will require formal childcare before the age of five years,” she said.

“The Greens recognise childcare as an essential social service, and will continue to fight for high-quality, affordable, accessible childcare for Australian families.”

Media contact: Gemma Clark on 0427 604 760