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Newcastle Council reviews childcare centres

Newcastle City Council is reviewing arrangements with five community childcare centres located on Council-owned land and buildings.

According to Lord Mayor Jeff McCloy – Childcare Centres, “The current Council has been working with Elermore Vale, Glendore, Hamilton, Wallsend, and Maryland centres for the past 18 months to examine options and ensure quality childcare places at these centres well into the future.

“As part of this effort, a Council working party looked at options for either gifting or leasing the land to existing operators.

“These facilities were re-valued in the latter half of 2013, and the replacement value of the five sites was found to be close to $6 million.

“Council needs to ensure these assets, owned by the whole community, are used for the benefit of all rate payers. Giving away these assets, which is an option, may not be in the best interests of the City, or of parents seeking child care services in the future.

“A Council report to be debated at Council’s 25 March 2014 Ordinary Meeting recommends that Council enter into leases with all five childcare centres.

“The proposed option allows for Council to slowly scale recovery of its costs over time, and mitigates the impact of the change on each centre by providing a direct relationship between the rent and the number of child places at each centre.

“Council remains committed to facilitating childcare placements and any recommendations will primarily be established on the most effective way to do so.

“Council will continue to consult with childcare providers within the Council-owned facilities. In the interim, services continue as per normal.”

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