Photo caption: Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall, left, with Armidale’s Tiny Town Childcare Centre Director Carina de Klerk today.
Friday, 3 November 2023
MEMBER for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall has made an urgent appeal to Education Minister Prue Car today to intervene and save Armidale’s Tiny Town Childcare Centre from forced closure next week.
The NSW Department of Education has issued a notice to close the facility, effective next Wednesday, 8 November.
Despite the 30-student centre successfully educating local children for more than two decades, Mr Marshall said the Department claimed the facility failed to meet Federal Government accreditation standards during a recent assessment.
“If this closure proceeds, it will have a dire impact open the more than 30 local families currently enrolled at Tiny Town and exacerbate the already lengthy waiting lists for childcare places in the region,” Mr Marshall said.
“Given Tiny Town’s exemplary track record, the dire shortage of childcare places in Armidale and the fact that the breaches were technical and paperwork deficiencies, I have asked the Minister to grant a stay of execution and allow thew centre more time to comply with the standards.
“While I appreciate the importance of the childcare standards, there is no suggestion of any issues with the education or safety of children at the centre.
“Small regional childcare providers can often find it difficult to sieve through paperwork and layers of bureaucracy which can at times be a tick-and-flick exercise.
“What’s worse is that Armidale, and our region more broadly, is in the midst of a childcare crisis with families waiting between 18 months and three years to secure a place for their youngsters.
“I recently took to the floor of State Parliament turning a spotlight on the dire lack of childcare services in our region and called for urgent action to address the ‘childcare desert.’
“A little bit of leniency should be considered and granted in this instance, especially with a decision that has far reaching consequences for our community.”
Mr Marshall said Tiny Town would cease operating next Wednesday, impacting 30 children and their parents, as well as six full-time employees.
“I have written today to the Minister for Education Prue Car, seeking her urgent intervention in this matter,” he said.
“I hope the Minister will consider my request to intervene and grant Tiny Town more time to comply with the Department’s requirements.
“If not, the impact will be wide and far reaching with many mums and dads being unable to work, with no provider in Armidale or surrounds having a single childcare spot.
“We simply cannot let this happen.”