More than 200 families using Latrobe City daycare services could face increased service costs without higher level intervention into a pending $500,000 funding shortfall.
Stepping up a campaign to highlight the state and federal government’s role in the funding squeeze, Latrobe City mayor Dale Harriman said costs for the popular Family Day Care program were set to increase a further $1 million in 2016/17 budget.
“We are clear that council cannot afford a $1 million service delivery increase – doubly so in an environment of rate capping,” Cr Harriman said.
“With no funding support, council will need to consider efficiencies and cost reductions in all areas of its business.
“Ultimately though, it is the community who ends up bearing the burden of increased costs through increased rates. And that is neither sustainable nor desirable.”
Mr Harriman said while council remained committed to providing early year services, it had been forced to consider a range of alternative scenarios, including large fee increases, or reducing services in other areas such as aged care, community development or libraries, or ceasing preschool services.
The squeeze comes after program funding changes flagged by the State Government last year, and federal funding ratio changes, which have been estimated to increase council’s operating costs by $1 million per year.