This consultation is closed.

Thank you for your feedback on Council's childcare future. Council reached a decision about the future of its three early learning centres on 12 December. Please read on to find out more.

Decision update

At a special Council meeting held on 12 December 2023, Council ruled out a 21 December closure of its three early learning centres, which will now close in 2024.

Council has listened to the community who told us that they did not want a 21 December close and will continue to operate the centres until the end of term 1, 2024, before closing on 28 March 2024.

Keeping the centres open for longer responds to feedback from families who said they needed more time to find alternate care that best suits their needs, and staff who needed more time to find a new role through redeployment or career support. Family Support Officers are on hand to help families.

Council considered ever-increasing operating costs, fewer families using the centres, the strong supply of local childcare places and feedback received during the consultation process before making the decision.

There are 55 other childcare centres with more than 5,600 places in Glen Eira, with another nine childcare centres being planned – we are confident the strong supply of places will meet current and future need.

Council made this decision so that it can meet service demands across the whole municipality and thanked all those who participated in the consultation process that helped inform the decision.

Consultation background

Council’s three childcare centres were established at a time when opportunities for families to access childcare services were limited.

In the decades since, radical changes in government funding and policy led to substantial growth in childcare providers across the municipality.

The number of childcare places in Glen Eira has doubled since 2010 and increased from 3,966 places to 5,731 places since 2019 – an increase of 44 per cent There are a further nine centres now in the planning phase that will have the capacity to offer 919 more places.

A service review found our centres provide quality care and we have excellent educators, but our older buildings are no longer fit for purpose and are not equipped with modern contemporary services that meet the expectations of many prospective families, such as adequate kitchen facilities that allow us to provide cooked meals. In addition, the lack of flexible spaces does not allow for a broad range of educational and play opportunities.

Operating at 78 per cent capacity in 2022-23, the numbers at our centres keep going down while costs keep going up. Our centres are expected to operate at a loss of at least $570,000 each year.

Amid increasing costs and economic uncertainty, it is getting harder for councils to run services and we need to make responsible choices and provide value to all the community.

The Glen Eira municipality has a strong supply of childcare places that we have confidence will meet current and future demand. Council’s centres account for just 2 per cent of the childcare places in the municipality.

Reflecting the changing childcare landscape, Council has made a preliminary decision to close its three small Early Learning Centres in Caulfield, Carnegie and Murrumbeena. We are now consulting those who would be most impacted - staff, families and the broader community - before a final decision is made by the end of the year.