Govt urged to hand ABC childcare centres over to the workers

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Govt urged to hand ABC childcare centres over to the workers

ABC Learning childcare centres should be handed over to the workers who run them and the community, according to an organisation that fosters employee ownership.

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ABC Learning childcare centres should be handed over to the workers who run them and the community, according to an organisation that fosters employee ownership.
 
The Australian Employee Ownership Association (AEOA) said workers and the community should run the centres because they have a vested interest in ensuring the service is a success.
 
However, AEOA says the Federal Government would need to be a partner in the operation until before workers and the community could become fully fledged owners, following precedents in the United Kingdom and the United States in restructuring the financial sector.
 
Big business ‘can’t be trusted’
 
AEOA Research director Anthony Jensen said big business had demonstrated it cannot be trusted to deliver an essential service such as childcare and that the Federal Government should put workers and their communities at centre of the service.
 
‘The demise of ABC Learning has shown us that the care of our children is too important to be left in the hands of profit-driven big business,’ Jensen said.
 
‘AEOA urge the Federal Government to put the service of childcare back where it belongs: in the control of workers who have a vested interest in ensuring the service is a success.’
 
Social enterprise
 
Jensen said Federal Government support for worker ownership of ABC Learning centres would help establish the largest social enterprise in the country where the needs of staff and the children they care for come first.
 
‘The Federal Government should use its powers to help turn-around the catastrophe that was the corporate collapse of ABC Learning,’ Jensen said.
 
The AEOA said it would offer its services to the Federal Government to conduct a feasibility study for turning of ABC Learning centres into a social enterprise.
 
Govt assistance to end
 
Buyers for up to 241 of the company’s childcare centres have still not been found and Federal Government assistance to keep open the doors of these centres is due to come to an end in March.
 
Jensen said more than 900 ABC Learning centres and about 20,000 children remain in urgent need of help today as young Australian families struggle to find secure childcare arrangements as they return to work.
 
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