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Issue #1457      2 June 2010

Sale of ABC centres great for childcare

Childcare Union LHMU has welcomed the sale of the majority of ABC childcare centres to the new not for profit consortium GoodStart, stating the ABC collapse highlighted both the need for greater regulation of the sector and the determination of childcare professionals to continue to provide first class care in difficult circumstances.

On May 31GoodStart officially took control of 570 centres as part of its takeover of former ABC childcare centres. Sue Lines, LHMU assistant national secretary, stated, “We congratulate the thousands of staff at these centres who maintained their first rate standards despite the spectre of the longest running administration in Australian corporate history hanging over them. This highlights the commitment and professionalism these workers bring to their jobs.

“The Rudd government can also take a lot of credit for protecting ABC workers’ entitlements and for their role in financing and facilitating the GoodStart takeover.”

Ms Lines said the number of people affected by the company’s demise is staggering. More than 13,000 workers and 100,000 children were affected by the collapse of the company. Of the 1,037 centres that went into receivership in November 2008, 81 were either closed or merged with nearby centres.

“The sheer enormity of the collapse of ABC provides solid evidence of the need for greater regulation of this vital service.

“The collapse of ABC is not only a shameful event in Australian history; it is also a stark reminder of the need to properly regulate the childcare sector. Childcare is an essential element of the Australian social and economic fabric and provides an irreplaceable service to millions of Australian families.

“We urge government to take the lessons learned from the ABC debacle and establish regulation that ensures childcare centres are financially viable, maintain the highest standards of care and education and are driven by community needs rather than commercial interests.

“While we welcome GoodStart’s entrance into childcare we must remember the lessons learned over the past two years and apply them in a comprehensive review of the regulation and funding of the entire industry,” Sue Lines concluded.  

Next article – Top level union meetings in Beijing

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