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Govt has hands off the wheel as ABC Learning fallout continues

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young says that the Federal Government must intervene to protect childcare workers’ jobs and the stability of children’s care, as the fallout from last November’s ABC Learning collapse continues.

Today is the deadline for ABC Learning’s court-appointed receiver, PPB, to sell the 241 centres deemed unviable under the ABC Learning model. Reports say the fate of all of these centres is still not known, and that some workers have lost their jobs.

“Today marks another signpost in the sorry path the ABC Learning collapse has travelled,” said Senator Hanson-Young.

“Reports today that childcare workers at centres previously owned by ABC Learning have found out - via a letter from its receiver, no less - that they are now out of a job are disturbing.

“It’s clear that, despite the positive spin, the collapse of ABC Learning has been mishandled by the Rudd Government. To date, that mishandling has cost taxpayers $56 million in two bailouts.”

Senator Hanson-Young said the Federal Government should take a more hands-on approach to reshaping the childcare sector in the wake of the ABC Learning collapse.

“While the collapse of Australia’s childcare corporate giant was a disaster that caused great turmoil in the sector and distress to mums, dads, kids and workers, it could have been seized by the Government as an opportunity to transform the childcare sector away from the profit-driven industry it had become – but this has not happened.

“Workers are still feeling insecure and expendable, and parents are unsure of what the future holds for the care of their young children.

“There have been no measures taken by the Government to ensure that this saga cannot happen again with an ABC Learning lookalike.

“There’s nothing to stop the remaining 720 ABC Learning centres yet to be put up for sale becoming ABC Learning Mark II under a new corporate giant.

“Voters would expect a government elected on the back of a ‘working families’ mantra to prioritise the essential service of childcare, yet the fact that it was virtually ignored in this week’s Budget indicates otherwise.”

Senator Hanson-Young said she was eager to hear from those working in the childcare sector to determine a better path forward, as the Senate Inquiry she established into the provision of childcare in Australia prepared to hold hearings.

“The Inquiry I established into childcare last November will go around the country in the next couple of months, and the Greens look forward to getting all the information from those working on the ground in childcare out in the public arena, to pave a better path forward.”

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