Another TAFE casualty: Closure of Victoria University Newport childcare centre to leave parents and children stranded
Protest: 9.30 am Friday 2 November, 80 Champion Road Newport
Friends of Victoria University (VU), parents and staff of the Victoria University Newport Childcare centre will demonstrate outside the centre tomorrow, 9.30 am Friday 2 November, to protest against the centre’s impending closure.
Teaching at Victoria University’s Newport campus will cease in December with the campus slated for closure in February, following the Baillieu Government’s $34 million budget cut to VU TAFE operations. The campus child care centre, which has served staff and students for 26 years, is now also to shut down – in December.
A spokesperson for Friends of Victoria University, Dr Paul Adams, said the closure would leave 78 children aged 3 months to six years without care.
“This is another casualty of the Baillieu Government’s attack on the TAFE system. It’s a disaster for parents and the local community. Most child care centres in the Hobson’s bay area have already filled places for 2013 and there is a two year waiting list in the area.
“A new child care centre is due to open nearby in January 2013 but meanwhile many parents – mostly women – are likely to be left without alternatives and may have to consider leaving paid employment to care for their children,” Dr Adams said.
Dr Adams described the parents’ demand for the centre to stay open for another year as entirely reasonable.
“Parents need breathing space and time to find alternative child care places. Parents were first told about the proposed closure on 24 October,” he said.
The land that the child centre sits on is leased by the Department of Treasury and Finance and is costing VU $350,000 a year.
“VU is unable to continue to pay this lease because of massive cuts to its TAFE division,” Dr Adams said.
“VU has come to the party by agreeing to keep the centre open for another year if the lease can be reduced to an amount which is affordable: What we need now is for a commonsense solution from the Department of Treasury and Finance to help parents and VU find a solution.”