THE Fremantle Early Learning Centre has won its battle to keep a state government rent subsidy.
Earlier this month the Department of Community’s assets manager Mark Murphy wrote to the non-profit childcare centre’s chair Danielle Loizou-Lake to let her officially know proposed cuts had been overturned.
In 2016 the former Barnett government ordered the department to offload childcare centres from its books as it stared at the state’s worst budget position in years. There was a big backlash from the non-profit sector which was faced with cutting back either staff or service quality.
“I am pleased to advise that the state government will continue to provide accommodation support for the Fremantle Early Learning Centre,” Mr Murphy wrote.
“This support includes ongoing building maintenance, insurance costs and urgent capital works, as well as continuing to provide the premises at no rental cost.”
Community services minister Simone McGurk, who’d called the cuts “mean-spirited” while in Opposition but initially brushed off calls to reverse them, said in a letter to Ms Loizou-Lake the latest decision showed the McGowan government was prepared to listen.
“The state government remains committed to the ongoing provision of affordable childcare for all Western Australian families and we look forward to working with Fremantle Early Learning Centre Inc to achieve this,” Ms McGurk said.
Ms Loizou-Lake says while there’s still concerns about FELC’s long-term future because it’s smack-bang in the middle of the housing department’s proposed Beaconsfield redevelopment.
by STEVE GRANT