Karlye Williamson with daughter Avalon, 18 months. A fee hike will force Karlye to cut Avalon’s days at Sandhills Early Childcare Centre in Byron Bay.
Karlye Williamson with daughter Avalon, 18 months. A fee hike will force Karlye to cut Avalon’s days at Sandhills Early Childcare Centre in Byron Bay. Kate O’Neil

Families reduce daycare days

WORKING Byron Bay mum Karlye Williamson sends her 18-month daughter, Avalon, to Sandhills Childcare Centre three days a week, and the toddler loves every minute.

“I come here to pick her up and she doesn't want to leave,” she said.

“I can't speak highly enough about Sandhills. I did my research and these guys have got it nailed.”

All of which makes Byron Shire Council's decision to increase fees by $8 a day – from $74 to $82, an even bigger blow.

Ms Williamson, who is pregnant with her second child and due to stop work, wants to keep Avalon's place in the popular centre, but will reluctantly have to cut back her days to two a week..

Mum-of-two, Samantha Capon has also reduced her four-year-old and 18-month-old daughters' days in care from four to three as a result of the increased costs.

“When you're paying $1000 a fortnight it's really not worth working,” she said.

“It's a big jump, but council's broke, so what can they do,” she said.

Danelle Wuehr also has two children at the centre and is considering taking out her eldest to send to a cheaper pre-school.

Despite the fee hike Sandhills remains the preferred option for all three mothers.

“At the private centres, they don't put the money back into the day care,” said Ms Williamson.

“In the public sector, all the money goes back onto the centre and you can see it.”



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