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Issue # 1403      18 March 2009

ABC centres’ sale delay prolongs anxiety for families and workers

The LHMU Childcare Union says more uncertainty and anxiety for workers and families are the inevitable result of the announcement that a six-week extension will be sought to the Supreme Court appointed receivership of the 241 ABC2 Group childcare centres.

Sue Lines, LHMU assistant national secretary said the union was disappointed workers and families will have to wait longer before they know the future their centres.

“This announcement highlights the unprecedented nature and complexity of the task the receivers have on their hands,” said Ms Lines. “The process of finding new owners must be done in an orderly and accountable manner. We hope an extension will improve the likelihood that high quality, reputable long term operators will buy the centres.

“The decisions made by the receivers are of vital importance for everybody in these centres. Families need to know the operators of their centres will be there for the long haul.”

Confirmation by the receivers that satisfactory operators may not be found for all centres can only increase anxiety about possible centre closures.

“Workers are feeling the strain, anxious about the future. We know that some have found the uncertainty too difficult and they have left the sector.

“In the current uncertain economic climate, there’s a real danger parents may opt for unregulated care which doesn’t have the checks and balances young children need.

“We are pleased that contracts are now being exchanged for 65 centres. We look forward to working with the new operators on providing sustainable, quality early education and care.”

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