Cost of child care could climb

Parents across Latrobe Valley have voiced their objection to proposed increases to child care costs outlined in Latrobe City Council’s proposed fees and charges for 2014/15.

Single mum Amanda Waterston was among 46 objectors to the $10-a-day increase to long day child care fees, bringing the cost from $73 per day to $83 from 1 July.

Ms Waterston said to continue to send her three year-old daughter to Moe PLACE two days per week, so she could attend her part-time job, she must pay an extra $40 per fortnight for no extra services.

“That’s a lot of money considering they do not provide food, nappies, and everything else – you have to provide all that for them,” Ms Waterston said.

“I know other learning centres provide all those things for less than what I’m paying now.”

However, Ms Waterston said it was not an option for her to switch childcare centres.

She said she did not want to uproot her daughter so close to moving her to a kindergarten next year.

“That’s not going to be fair on her… I’ll just have to pay it and I won’t be able to afford other things,” Ms Waterson said.

She said she operated on a tight budget and her daughter would now miss out on “little things” like swimming trips, dance lessons, movie sessions and children’s concerts.

Another parent, mother-of-three Lisa Pavlic, said she was considering taking her two sons out of Latrobe City’s Morwell childcare centre, to save $50 per week from her family’s already “extremely tight” budget.

“I’m researching into other child care centres in Morwell to compare what they offer before we make a decision,” Ms Pavlic said.

At a special meeting on Monday, council heard from the public and reviewed submissions, with the majority of councillors agreeing to consider adopting the fees and charges at the Monday, 10 June meeting.

Councillors Sandy Kam, Dale Harriman and Michael Rossiter voted against the motion.

“What we wanted to vote against was not the adoption of the fees and charges, but to have it delayed until 30 June to have more time for better discussions with submitters to come up with an equitable solution,” Cr Harriman said.

The officer’s report accompanying the submissions stated the increase in long day care fees was proposed to decrease the current subsidy from rates for Child and Family Services.

“The Child and Family Services budget is subsidised through rates in the current financial year by approximately $1.15 million,” the officer said.

“The proposed fee reduces the rate subsidy to $1.05 million.”

A second report will come before council when it makes a final decision on the fees and charges at the next meeting.