Wednesday, 03 November 2010

MLA blames council for childcare crisis

Monday, 01 November 2010
By Henrietta Cook
Melbourne Weekly
Oakleigh MLA Ann Barker has accused Glen Eira Council of failing to collaborate with the state government to find long-term solutions to the area’s impending childcare crisis.‘‘Glen Eira must be the only council in the state that is not doing this collaborative approach and needs to sit down and seriously talk about it,’’ she said.Barker’s comments follow a state government announcement that Carnegie Preschool will be temporarily relocated to Carnegie Primary School next year. The relocation of the 1914 kindergarten to a demountable building at Carnegie Primary School follows four years of uncertainty after the Uniting Church sold the Toolambool Road site, where the preschool is currently located.

Barker expressed frustration that a permanent location for the preschool had not been found and said the council was continuing to push for short-term solutions, such as building kindergartens within primary schools, when children’s centres that deliver childcare, kindergarten and maternal child health were the answer.

Glen Eira mayor Steven Tang said the council had submitted two applications this year to establish children’s centre hubs in McKinnon and Elsternwick, both suburbs outside Barker’s electorate, and neither was funded. Only two of 15 kindergarten grant applications submitted by the council were funded.

‘‘All Victorian councils are united in concern about the under-funding of new kindergarten policies,’’ he said.

Director of Carnegie Preschool Pam Marti said families had been feeling anxious about the situation for some time. She said Carnegie was in desperate need of more kindergarten places to accommodate the high numbers of young families moving into the area.

In April, Glen Eira Council submitted its Universal Access Kindergarten Report to the state government, which predicted demand for kindergarten places in Glen Eira will increase by more than 50 per cent from 2010 to 2013 as a result of a federal and state government policy change that aims to increase four-year-old kindergarten from 10 to 15 hours per week.

Barker said the council’s report didn’t provide an appropriate long-term solution to the issue.

‘‘ I’d like to see [the council] stop saying this

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is a state government responsibility and to say we have these buildings and these possible sites and to talk about it.’’


G8 empire grows into Singapore

Friday, 29 October 2010
By Nick Nichols, Business Editor
Gold Coast Business

GOLD Coast-based G8 Education has broken out of the playpen and extended its reach internationally through a $19.2 million deal to acquire Singapore largest childcare centre operator.

The purchase of the privately owned Cherie Hearts is expected to add $3.3 million to the company’s bottom line in the 2011 calendar year, boosting an already-upgraded forecast profit by 30 per cent to $13.97 million.

The news has been welcomed by the share market as investors pushed G8’s shares almost 9 per cent higher to 85c, well past the latest valuations by brokers.

G8 chairman Jenny Hutson said the growth opportunity was ‘exceptional’ as the childcare sector in Singapore was undersupplied.

“It’s a really different market and a really different opportunity,” she said. “It’s a market with real potential.”

Cherie Hearts, which is targeting 12 to 15 per cent growth this year, operates 66 childcare centres — 48 of them franchised — offering places for 5208 children.

There are a further 23 franchises due for settlement.

The acquisition will build on G8’s 130 Australian centres servicing 9000 childcare places in four states.

The Singapore deal was brokered through G8 managing director Chris Scott’s association with Cherie Hearts founders Sam Yap and Gurchran Singh, who will both join the G8 board after the buyout.

The deal includes G8 assuming $5.65 million in Cherie Hearts’ debt and will be

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funded through existing cash reserves.

Cherie Hearts will boost G8’s forecast 2011 revenue by $16.7 million to $132.1 million.

While the purchase has been made at an earnings multiple of 4.47 times — higher than the level at which G8 has been targeting Australian acquisitions — Ms Hutson said the lower tax rate in Singapore brought this down to an equivalent of 3.75 times.

“It’s very strongly earnings-per-share accretive.”

Ms Hutson said no synergies had been forecast in those figures, although she expected to achieve some.

“So we think for the right reasons that it’s a conservative forecast and provides for expansion in Singapore,” she said. “The growth there is extraordinary.”

Ms Hutson said that the Singapore Government had taken a proactive approach to expanding childcare services in the country.

About 50 per cent of Cherie Hearts’ revenue comes from government contributions to parents, payments which are not means-tested.

Ms Hutson said she saw no difficulties in overcoming regulatory requirements and she expected the deal to settle on January 1.


Coalition aims to save kids

Friday, 29 October 2010
By Lauren Henry
Bendigo Advertiser

THE state Coalition has released details of a $50.5 million package aimed at breaking the cycle of child abuse.

The package includes six programs aimed at early intervention and prevention.

The state government came under fire last week after freedom of information documents revealed that 58 cases of children at risk in the Loddon Mallee region had their cases reopened within months of being closed.

And 21 per cent of Loddon Mallee Department of Human Service case workers resigned in 2009.

The Coalition promises, if elected, to invest $16 million to monitor pregnant women known to the department – from the pre-birth period until the child is four years of age.

A further $1.8 million would support a childcare centre pilot project aimed at vulnerable families. There would also be $2 million for a strategy to assist parents in dealing with children’s behavioural and developmental challenges.

Troubled teenagers would be eligible for financial assistance, $16.9 million would go towards vulnerable people leaving residential care until they were 21, and $12.8 million would ensure that all young people entering residential care received medical, psychological, dental and educational assess ments.

The Coalition also said $1 million would be allocated to a long-term study assessing the effect of out-of-home care on children.

Community services spokeswoman Mary Wooldridge said the reforms were a long-term plan to break the cycle of inter-generational child abuse and neglect.

“The chronic problems in our

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system cannot be simply crisis managed with endless short-term patch-ups.

“We need an overhaul of our system, and we need to overhaul the way we support and manage early intervention and protection.’’

Mental Health and Community Services Minister Lisa Neville said the Labor government had committed record funding to helping vulnerable Victorians.

More than $330 million had been invested in the past two years.

Ms Neville said much of what the Coalition offered was already being implemented by the gov ernment.

This included priority access to mental health services for children in care, educational assessments for those children in care and support to increase the skills of vulnerable parents.


Action needed to tackle ‘ticking time bomb’ of overweight children

The Manly Daily

Fees hike fears for childcare centres
EDUCATION
29 OCT 10 @ 04:14PM BY BRENTON CHERRY

LOCAL childcare centres have expressed concerns over the new rules for staffing ratios which could see northern beaches families slugged up to $9.62 extra each day.

Centres were informed earlier this month that the proposed requirement of one staff member for every four children aged up to two would be enforced in January.

Centres are now only required to provide one worker for every five children in that age bracket.

This week a report commissioned by the State Government found centres will need to increase fees by nearly $10 per day to cover the costs of the staffing changes.

Carolyn Leis, who runs four Making a Difference Childcare Centres on the northern beaches, agreed.

“Changing the number of teachers to children will definitely increase the cost of childcare or reduce places for children across the

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board,” she said.

“It can’t be the 57 cents the minister has stated. From what we read in the media some organisations are forecasting up to $20 to $30 per day.”

Ms Leis said they are now looking at how they can absorb the changes.

“The Federal Government will just have to put more money into childcare benefits to pay for it,” she said.

But not all local childcare providers will be forced to bump up their fees.

Warringah Council already provides one childcare worker for every four children aged up to two at its four long day care centres.

Director of Sandcastles Childcare at Freshwater, Kay Hale, said it will be also able to absorb the changes without increasing fees.

“We have two teachers for our nought to one room and two for our one to two room with a person floating between the two, so we don’t need to change much,” she said.

“I think the changes are good for the industry as long as they don’t cause the prices to go up.”


Historical Independent Consultant Articles

Article Title Article Provider Date

Australian Industry Newsletter – 10 February 2012
Australian Industry Newsletter – 16 January 2012
Australian Industry Newsletter – 4 November 2011
Australian Industry Newsletter – 31 August 2011
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June 2011
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