THE City of Greater Bendigo is reviewing its role in early childhood services, with fears public childcare centres will be sold to private firms.
The Bendigo Advertiser was anonymously contacted by a person – who asked to be referred to as a concerned parent – who said they were concerned by what the review could mean for parents and staff.
They feared childcare centres could be sold without warning into private ownership. “There are workers who have been in these centres for 30-plus years, which if sold are not guaranteed employment with the private firms who may purchase them,” they said. “There are parents of these children, such as myself, who are not being notified correctly of this potentially happening.
“We have no warning that in 12 months’ time the centre may be run by a private firm.”
They said the council had given little information to the public.
“It is understandable that the review is taking place, but important information – such as our council-run childcare centres potentially being sold to private firms – is not being communicated to parents who use these centres or the community as a whole,” they said.
But City of Greater Bendigo director of community wellbeing Pauline Gordon said there would be an extensive community consultation process regarding the review. “The City of Greater Bendigo Council is undertaking a review of its role in the planning, delivery and support of early childhood services, which includes preschools, childcare and playgroups,” she said. “The review will assess broader community need and make recommendations to council as to what its role should be into the future.
“This includes how to best support all stakeholders who have a role in early childhood, to ensure that families are able to access affordable and high quality services across Greater Bendigo.”