Should child care be at mercy of market?
International herald Tribune – Business with Reuters – The Global Edition of the New York Times
By Meraiah Foley
November 28, 2008
…. The collapse of the company, which looks after about 120,000 Australian children, or 25 percent of the day care population, has sent the government scrambling to avoid the economic and political fallout of leaving tens of thousands of working parents stranded without child care services.
Critics say the rise and fall of ABC Learning will become a textbook case highlighting the dangers of allowing the private sector to dominate essential services like education, care for the elderly and utilities.
“This is not just an Australian story,” said Deborah Brennan, a social policy expert at the University of New South Wales, who has been studying ABC for the past 18 months.
“It is a story about where a rather blind belief in market forces can get you in the area of community services.”…
Women tolled warning bells but no one wanted to listen
Sydney Morning Herald
November 8, 2008
The women knew. For some time ABC Learning Centres had troubled the child-care experts. The company’s baffling balance sheets did not make sense and the labyrinthine company structures were a worry to them.
But no one took notice of a bunch of female child-care experts with degrees in early childhood education and politics. Critics were dismissed as ideologues and anti-business, and told they were picking on ABC. …
Community operators keen to step into ABC void
ABC TV News
Nov 7, 2008
ABC Learning was placed into administration yesterday….
Lynne Wannan, the immediate past convenor of the National Association of Community Based Children’s Services, says it would be “foolish” to let the company return to its previous business model.
“It is extraordinary to imagine that they would ever have been able to see you could return shares to shareholders. So there was no other route for them than to end up like this,” she said.
“To imagine that you are ever going to have millions and billions of dollars t2o return to shareholders and banks based on the revenue that you get from childcare is ludicrous.”
…. “It is not a complex task to manage children’s centres and those community ones that have been operating for 30 to 40 years, they can do it. They manage. That is what they do on a day-to-day basis,” she said…
Receivers to take over ABC Learning
Nov 5, 2008
ABC Learning, the childcare centre operator that looks after 100,000 Australian infants and toddlers, is today expected to be swept into receivership after months of escalating financial trouble.