MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire has now officially “transitioned” out of running school holiday programs.
Licences held by the shire with the Department of Education and Training will be transferred to commercial operator Team Holiday.
Team Holiday will run programs under the licences from the April’s Easter school holidays at Hastings and Mornington while continuing existing programs at Mt Eliza and Mt Martha.
Mornington Peninsula Shire mayor Cr Bryan Payne described Team Holiday as “an established and experienced service provider”.
Team Holiday’s website lists three programs in the just-ended school holidays, ranging from $70 a day at Mt Eliza North Primary to $75 a day at Toorak College, Mt Eliza and $75.50 a day at Osborne Primary, Mt Martha.
The website also details government rebates for eligible families: “Team Holiday is a fully approved service for all CCB [Child Care Benefit] and CCR [Child Care Rebate]. This means that if you work or study and are an Australian resident, you will only end up paying 50 per cent of your fees.”
Cr Payne said the move to Team Holiday “will ensure families are provided with a school holiday program service more aligned with their needs”.
“Team Holiday is owned, run and delivered by teachers, and they are holiday program specialists with excellent industry standards. Team holiday will bring a focus on fun as well as safety and service excellence for all families,” he said.
“The selection of Team Holiday supports our commitment to ensure the continuation of appropriate school holiday programs that remain accessible and affordable for our local families.”
Team Holiday will run Easter holiday programs at Bentons Square, Mornington and Hastings Community Hub.
Holiday programs will no longer be held at Peninsula Community Theatre, Mornington, which Cr Payne said was “a temporary solution”.
Team Holiday would continue programs at the more “fit-for-purpose” Toorak College, Mt Eliza North and Osborne primary schools.
The shire’s move away from running school holiday programs comes at the same time that it is looking at “all options” for its aged and disability services.
Cr Payne last month said the “market test” for “potential operating models” now underway is in response to federal government changes to the sector (“Shire bows out of holiday fun” The News 9/1/18).
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.
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”.
The shire’s acting director communities Jenny Van Riel later said that abandoning the school holiday programs would affect 33 casual employees.
Ms Riel reiterated that “for the majority of staff, being either teachers or currently training to be teachers, this program is not their main employment”.
She said 290 families registered to use the school holiday program had used “for at least one day in 2017”, while “only around 10 per cent of the families utilise each of the four holiday programs across the year”.
Details of Team Holidays’ school holiday programs are at teamholiday.com.au
Families can call the shire for more information on 5950 1099.