90% Of Early Learning Centres Say Funding Increase Won’t Cover Skyrocketing Costs
The 1.2% increase in per-child subsides on offer to community and privately owned early learning centres won’t cover rising costs, according to an Early Childhood Council survey.
90% of centres surveyed sad the 1.2% funding boost falls far behind the rising cost of rent, relief teacher fees, maintenance, minimum wage increases, sick leave and a new public holiday on the horizon.
Centres were reluctant to increase parent fees, and are left wondering what levers they had left to pull to stay viable, saying:
- “It’s far too small, and doesn't do anything to make up for the massive increases in staffing and other costs. We’re struggling to make ends meet. The only way to meet costs is to pass them on to parents - those in our society who need the greatest help. It's beyond ridiculous!”
- “The back end costs of operating a centre are becoming more and more onerous, particularly for small rural centres like ours who don’t have a huge number of children to spread the costs across. We are having to consistently increase what we spend on admin staff to meet these requirements, and 1.2% doesn’t touch on these cost increases.”
“We think providers deserve relief after a decade of no real funding increase,” said ECC CEO Peter Reynolds. “Any support is welcome, but what’s on offer won’t help those centres already taking no drawings or going into debt to stay open.”
Combined with uncertainty about the new Pay Parity scale not being financially viable for centres, early learning providers are left frantically re-doing their budgets to stay afloat.