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Early Learning Centre review findings revealed

20 March 2017

The results of an independent review into the long term financial sustainability of the Gladys Smith Early Learning Centre were presented to Council during its February meeting.

The 68 page report highlighted both the quality and the importance of the services provided by the Centre to the local community, as well as its strong connection to both the current and future local economy.  

The report made several  recommendations to future proof the financial viability of the centre, which has been running at a loss for a number of years. “There are a number of factors that have increased the cost of running the centre, including child and educator ratio changes by the Federal Government, the intake of younger children to State Government run kindergartens, along with low birth rates in Millicent in recent years.” said Council's Chief Executive Officer, Ben Gower.

The review is one of a series that are planned for a number of Council’s business unit activities to ensure that it continues to provide value for money services to the community.

The following recommendations were adopted by Council for implementation over the next few years;

  • Establish a maximum of three casual enrolments per day to stabilise staffing levels and maximise labour cost efficiencies.

  • Improve the promotion and marketing of the Centre with a particular emphasis on it being local and having achieved an exceeding rating from the national accreditation agency.

  • Increase the pricing structure to $100 a day for permanent and $115 for casual enrolments for under two’s; and $97 per day for permanent and $112 for casual enrolments for two and overs

  • As a long term cost saving initiative, migrate the staff from the Council’s ASU Enterprise bargaining Agreement to the Childcare Award.

  • Establish a 5% cost saving initiative benchmark and implement cost effective strategies such as; a reduction in planning sessions, the introduction of vacation programs, and streamlined options for payment and reporting.

  • Investigate alternative ownership models that involve options for greater collaboration and/or integration with local schools and kindergartens.

The centres’ staff and parent representative committee were recently briefed by Council management on the review findings and subsequent recommendations and Council will continue to liaise with affected families throughout their implementation.

The centre was built by Council in 1977 during a time of strong population growth and is the only childcare centre in Millicent.



For further information please contact:

Ben Gower, Chief Executive Officer
Email:                      bjg@wattlerange.sa.gov.au
Telephone:              (08) 8733 0900 or 0402 177 247


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