YWCA Canberra’s Fairley Early Childhood Service is getting a new outdoor space and Gungahlin and North Canberra residents are being urged to take advantage of the new space as well.
The new space has been modelled on local Indigenous influences and will be opened with a smoking ceremony by local Biripi man Adam Duncan. YWCA Canberra will then host a free twilight barbecue for the community.
The new space was set to open with a public event at 5:30 pm today (Monday, 19 October), but it has since been postponed.
“At YWCA Canberra, our vision for reconciliation remains one where the ACT and surrounding region truly acknowledges, pays respect to, and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, contributions, knowledge and histories,” said CEO of YWCA Canberra Frances Crimmins.
“We have embedded a commitment to reconciliation and a culture of working towards reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in our organisation, including throughout all our children’s services.
“This new outdoor space, which is inspired by the land and cultures that have existed upon it for millennia, is one more part of this commitment.”
The childhood service offers before-and-after-school care, art facilities and a school readiness program to help children gain learning and social skills before heading to primary school.
YWCA Canberra currently cares for around 3000 children each week through its six early childhood services and 15 school-age care programs, as well as family day care and school holiday programs across the Canberra region.
The new centre in Murrumbateman may also offer respite to Canberra parents looking to escape hefty childcare costs, with new figures revealing the ACT has the highest hourly rate of childcare in the country.
Figures from the March quarter released by the Federal Department of Education, Skills and Employment put the average hourly rate for childcare in the ACT at $11.30, compared to $10.20 across the border in NSW, and the national average of $10.
This means Canberra families could be paying around $50 a week more than the national average – $2700 for the year – for childcare based on a 40-hour week.
Although Canberra parents are expected to get some hip pocket relief after the ACT election.
Labor has promised to deliver one day of free childcare for three-year-olds by 2024, but the Greens want this to be extended to the current arrangement for four-year-olds.
Currently, every four-year-old in the ACT has access to 15 hours a week of early childhood education. This would also be the case for three-year-olds from the 2021 school year, said the Greens.