CEO Chatter For July 2022

25th July 2022

The Federal and State Labor governments during elections have clearly stood on the fundamentals of increased access to childcare; after being given a mandate by the polls we now seek to start the conversation around how these governments will support the communities in more remote rural and outback communities. All communities should be offered the access to meaningful quantities of childcare, not just those located in large towns and cities. There are clear links to unlocking the employment potential for parents and the educational potential for the children.

Many of the city areas have a childcare access to services ratio that ranges from 1.4 to 2 children per available childcare placement. The worst of the ‘city areas’ have a placement ratio of 3 to 4 children per available placement (primarily outer Northern suburbs). The placements available in the Mid North is 8 children per available placement, I’m no mathematician but that’s double the worst rate of the city areas.

Some might say that childcare is not the responsibility of local Council which in many aspects is quite correct, ‘but if not us, who’? We can and must advocate and agitate to the Federal and State Governments to ensure our rural communities are not left behind. Council’s Strategic and Community Plan 2020-2030 calls for strong advocacy to State and Federal Governments for the improvement in essential services such as child care.

With that in mind Council intends to facilitate a community driven working party to start this conversation and understand the needs of our community for the provision of childcare. These programs must be driven by the community to be successful in my experience.

The Legatus local Government group of which Council is a member has recently passed motions at its June Meeting in Melrose, essentially providing endorsement and support to Councils to investigate childcare options. This will involve forms of advocacy more broadly across our membership districts.

The first step for our Council will be arranging for the working party to be created and the second stage will require a comprehensive survey through the Regional Development Australia Yorke and Mid North to ascertain the actual current demand for childcare. Please keep an eye out for this working party creation and the subsequent survey and share widely throughout your network, it is incredibly important to be able to demonstrate our needs. We will have a broad communication plan to ensure it reaches an audience as wide as possible.

I must add that it is important to maintain expectations, these processes often take years to bear fruit, however the journey always starts with one step. Let’s see how we go.

Once again to continue the theme of providing a quote that relates to my small discussion articles, this one seems appropriate and provides the yardstick for the newly formed governments to provide much needed assistance.

“I want universal childcare to be a part of the great Australian story”
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese 31 May 2022.