A CRISIS meeting has been called in Mitta on Wednesday night to deal with the fallout of the town being one of seven similar sized centres losing a childcare service from next year.
Dawn Turner, a parent who relies on the two-days per week service at the Magorra Park community centre, has called the meeting in response to Albury-Wodonga Community College’s decision to shut the Mitta service along with Walwa, Kergunyah, Baranduda, Bellbridge, Henty and Walla.
Ms Turner and other parents in the Mitta Valley were blindsided by the announcement on Friday and were hoping to attract a representative from the community college to the meeting on Wednesday to explain the reasons for the decision along with the Towong Shire which has been hit hardest by the closures.
“In the past couple of months there has been some talk of us getting a third day,” she said.
“For a small community it was very much used and is very much needed.
“A few parents from Mitta do take kids to Kiewa if they are having a day in town (Albury-Wodonga).”
Without a family day care option in Mitta, the closest childcare options are Kiewa and Tallangatta.
“There is a lot of negative feeling around that this is just another example of things being cut from country areas,” Mrs Turner said.
“We lost the mobile library a few years ago and that hasn’t been replaced.
“We’ve already taken a big blow with the dairy crisis, but we deserve the same opportunities as others.”
The meeting will be held at the Mitta pub from 6.30pm and parents and staff from other towns affected by the closures are also invited to attend.
Indi MP Cathy McGowan has vowed to take up the fight on behalf of the five centres in her electorate and is seeking an urgent meeting with federal education minister Dan Tehan in Canberra this week.
The federal government instigated the July 1 transition to a new childcare subsidy funding model system from budget-based funding.
“In February 2017 I proposed amendments to the government’s Omnibus Bill to ensure these childcare services would not be adversely impacted by the government’s reforms,” Ms McGowan said.
“My amendments last year were constructive, practical and simple.
“They asked the government to commit in its legislation to monitoring and reporting on the impact of the reforms on these services.
“At the time it was incredibly disappointing and inexplicable that the Coalition, including 14 Nationals MPs in regional electorates, voted against those amendments.”
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