Thank you to everyone who provided a comment on the fee proposal for its four Early Education Centres. Public exhibition closed on 31 January 2020.
At the 18 February meeting, Council approved the proposed childcare fee increase of $12 per day across our Early Education Centres.
From 2 March 2020, the new fees for each centre are:
- $128 per day for 3 years olds and over
- $134 per day for 0-3 year olds
There will be no fee increase in July.
These fees will ensure our centres remain amongst the more reasonably priced providers in the local area. Even with the fee increase, Council’s fees will be below the average local fee of $139, charged by a mix of private and Not-for-Profit centres in the Waverley LGA. Increasing labour costs, fees that have been kept low and recent Government cuts in operational grant funding have contributed to Council’s decision to increase fees.
The decision to approve the fee increase was not made lightly but was taken to address the significant budget shortfall we are currently facing and in consideration of the feedback received. Council received 29 submissions (or about 9%) from families in our centres. For those of you who offered feedback, we wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for your input. Each submission was included in the February Council Report, which can be viewed at waverley.infocouncil.biz.
We would like to assure you that your feedback has been noted. Your suggestions for improvements and enhancements will receive active consideration. One consistent theme of the submissions received was regarding operational hours of the EECs and the desire to start the day earlier. Other suggestions included how extracurricular activities could be delivered more efficiently and to include a breakfast snack for early starters. These requests will now be considered as part of a broader review.
Council will engage an early education expert consultant to recommend operational enhancements based on cost recovery principles. This review will include staffing and rosters that support quality education and care. Council continues to be committed to supporting family choices by delivering targeted services in its four Early Education Centres and a Family Day Care service with over 30 educators spread across the LGA and into the City of Sydney. We have a unique early intervention and family support service that provides counselling, parent education and referral pathways to specialists.
A service review and analysis of Council’s approved budget for early education centres has shown that fees have not sufficiently kept up with industry changes and shortfall is expected. In saying that, as a local government provider, keeping services accessible for our families and workers remains a priority. Council is implementing various efficiency strategies to cover this shortfall and to keep our services strong and viable.
The proposal is for fees to be increased from
- $116 - $128 for over 3-year olds, and
- $122 - $134 for under 3-year olds.
The proposed $12 price increase is partially representative of CPI (normal July price increase) and some recovery of the loss. This will place our average price at about 3% to 7% below the market average. There is no fee increase proposed for July 2020.
We’ll present the feedback we receive in a report to Council in February 2020. If Council endorses the proposed fee increase, new fees will be charged from March 2020.
The Council report outlining the proposal in more detail is available under 'Document Library' on the right. If you've any questions, please contact Michelle Carrick, Children & Family Services Manager, on 9083 8621 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.