Mothers whose children attend the Leichhardt Community Centre Child Care Centre are outraged that the site is closing.
Mothers whose children attend the Leichhardt Community Centre Child Care Centre are outraged that the site is closing. Claudia Baxter

No way out, says child centre head

MANAGEMENT of the Leichhardt-One Mile Child Care Centre has sought to answer critics who said it was shut without warning.

As the QT reported, parents were angry and confused after being told their much-loved childcare centre would close on Thursday.

They received the news last Wednesday.

Cr Charlie Pisasale, whose division covers the centre, met the centre's management on this week after his office, the office of the Mayor, and council officers were inundated with phone calls and emails.

After the meeting, the centre's licensee, Merv Neumann, and acting president Kay Howlett issued a statement that a combination of insurance charges, a shortage of funding and debts from unpaid fees left no choice but to close.

Insurance changes and "general financial pressure on a small community organisation that receives $80,000 annually to support a $3.5 million complex" made matters worse.

"Any debt, minor or major, would directly impact on community support services which would then jeopardise the existence of the group," it said.

"We have current debt from some parents totalling thousands. Most parents are and were very good at paying their fees; unfortunately we incurred debts into the thousands over the years."

"This is a business and it is a business decision."

Ms Howlett and Mr Neumann said families were given notice about centre closing to give them time to find another childcare centre.

"Most childcare centres do not give notice when closing; they inform parents on the day and then close," they said.

They said management gave their personal time to keep the centre operating over the past 10 years.

"This is all voluntary. No committee member has benefited financially of otherwise from childcare funds," they said.

"Management was rightfully entitled to claim a 10% management fee from the childcare centre, which would have been approximately $25,000 per year. They did not do this as their philosophy of providing affordable child care was more important."

They said that after a period the management would consider options for the existing facility.



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