No ultimatum on Family Day Care

Published on 28 July 2023


Mayor Tom Kennedy says there has been no indication that the future of Family Day Care (FDC) in Broken Hill is in jeopardy after Council voted against taking over the service this week.


Cobar Shire Council currently operates Far West Family Day Care, which absorbed Broken Hill Family Day Care (BHFDC) as part of its regional operations in 2020.


Cobar is now seeking to withdraw from the Broken Hill market and had been in discussions with Broken Hill Council around the possibility of transferring operation of the service.


Council considered the matter at this week's Ordinary Monthly Meeting, and voted against taking on the service after a report suggested its operations lacked the resources, experience, and regulatory and compliance knowledge required for day care services.


This decision prompted concerns from some locals that Cobar would terminate its local operations if Broken Hill Council did not take them on, however Mayor Kennedy said he had been given no indication this would happen.


"I understand there's been a bit of rumour in the community regarding this issue, and I'd like to clarify things for the benefit of both Cobar and Broken Hill councils," he said.


"Cobar approached us about potentially taking over the FDC service, and our staff did an investigation to see if we could accommodate it and unfortunately it didn't prove suitable at all.


"However all discussions were extremely respectful, and at no stage did Cobar deliver us an ultimatum or say 'take this on or we'll shut it down', and I'd just like to ensure that's made very clear.


"I'm not aware of any plan by Cobar to suddenly axe the service if Broken Hill Council doesn't take it on, and I can only assume that Council was just one of many options Cobar would investigate to potentially operate the service."


Mayor Kennedy said Council would now work with all parties to find an alternative provider should Cobar still wish to withdraw from local services.


"The reality is our local Council simply doesn't have the background or expertise in relation to operating a childcare service," he said.


"It's a specialised field and ideally this service would be operated by a local body within the industry, so we'll look to meet with Far West Family Day Care, local educators, and Cobar Shire Council as soon as possible to find a solution.


"Council will also continue to advocate for support for centre-based childcare in Broken Hill, which is where the industry’s preference is trending."