Two ABC Learning Centres saved by Federal funds

FAMILIES using ABC Learning Centres on the Far North Coast can relax because none of the seven centres operating in the region is ear-marked for closure.

However the centres at Casino East and Lismore, will receive some of the extra $34 million offered by the Federal Government to help keep 241 of the 1042 centres open.

The Federal Government has already provided $22 million to keep all the centres open until the end of the year.

Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard last week said 55 centres would close in the New Year with parents offered the chance to place their child at other centres.

The directors of six local ABC Learning Centres yesterday declined to comment, saying the centre's head office had told them not to speak to the media.

ABC Learning went into receivership in November owing more than $1 billion.

One hundred out of the 500 staff at 55 centres facing closure in 2009 are expected to lose their jobs.

However, staff and customers at another 241 centres otherwise classed as unviable have been thrown a lifeline by a group that wants to take on the unprofitable centres. The group, called the Community Sector Banking Service, is made up of the Bendigo and Adelaide banks and a consortium of charities and community service agencies.

“We believe that we have the expertise and the financial models to make this package work,” Community Sector Banking executive director Peter Quarmby said.

“We would always try to take all these businesses to profitability, but because profit isn't the motive in the community sector or non-profit sector, sustainability is probably the thing that we are striving for.”



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