HUNDREDS of workers stand to lose their jobs as Mornington Peninsula Shire looks to contract out its school holiday programs and aged care and disability services.
Private operators will run children’s activities from this year’s first term school holidays.
The shire announced last week it was “transitioning” out of the school holiday program business before the end of this year’s first term.
The current school holiday program – the shire’s last – ends Thursday 25 January.
The move comes at the same time that the shire is also looking at “all options” for the delivery of its aged and disability services.
The mayor Cr Bryan Payne says the “market test” for “potential operating models” now underway is in response to federal government changes to the aged and disabilities services sector.
Cr Payne gave assurances that the shire’s inquiries would have “absolutely no effect whatsoever on the current services provided to any of our 5000 clients, our staff, or our volunteers”.
The shire’s aged care sector operates with 280 employees and 160 volunteers.
Companies interested in taking over the shire’s role have until 31 January to respond with a plan.
Rather than giving a figure on how many individual jobs would be lost by the shire opting out of the school holiday program, Cr Payne was quoted in a news release as saying the move would affect a “predominantly casual workforce, an equivalent of around four FTE [full-time employees]”.
“For the majority of the staff the school holiday program provides secondary employment,” Cr Payne said.
As “valued members of the team” these casuals will be given “support and training opportunities”.
Cr Payne said the number of children attending the shire’s holiday programs had fallen “consistently” in the past five years.
However, the shire was “determined to support families by working with them to ensure a smooth transition to the new provider and by assisting in securing appropriate, affordable school holiday services for our local families”.
A newspaper advertisement run by the shire last weekend said it was looking for “suitably qualified” operators to run school holiday programs at Mornington, Bentons Square and Hastings.
The shire’s licences with the Victorian Department of Education and Training would be transferred to the successful tenderer. The licences allow the shire to run school holiday programs for up to 75 children at Mornington, 51 at Bentons Square and 60 at Hastings.
The shire expects to announce the new operator later this month.
“While council will transition out of the direct provision of the school holiday program, we are committed to working with the new provider to ensure the continuation of appropriate school holiday programs that are accessible and affordable for our local families,” Cr Payne stated in the shire’s news release.
“Out of the families that are registered with the service, less than 30 families utilise the program across all holiday periods.”
Cr Payne many families were sending children to sports camps, excursions “and other activity-specific programs”.
He said the shire will support families “throughout the transition, ensuring alternative programs are available and families are provided with a list of alternative school holiday programs and activities that are offered across the peninsula”.