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Letter of the Month – Labor Hits Local Children With 300% Rent Increase

By Thomas Klikauer on August 7, 2013 in Other

Photo: Thomas Klikauer

Photo: Thomas Klikauer


The Labor led Randwick Council is currently seeking to crank up the rent for SOS Pre-School, situated?at the Randwick Community Centre off Bundock Street in the corner?of South Coogee and Randwick. Randwick Council is planning to increase the fee for using the centre from between $6,000 and $7,000 per annum to above $20,000 – a 300% increase – so that children can continue to use their pre-school.

S.O.S for SOS Pre-School at Randwick Community Centre. Randwick’s current Labor council is hitting children where it re-?ally hurts, planning to hike up?a usage fee for a non-profit and community-based pre-school, taking valuable funding away from educating children and purchasing learning, educational, and child developmental materi- als. Randwick’s Labor council has already forced SOS Pre- School to waste $3,000, which would have given children much needed improvements to facilities and educational material.

The Labor led Randwick Council is currently seeking to crank up the rent for SOS Pre-School, situated?at the Randwick Community Centre off Bundock Street in the corner?of South Coogee and Randwick. Randwick Council is planning to increase the fee for using the centre from between $6,000 and $7,000 per annum to above $20,000 – a 300% increase – so that children can continue to use their pre-school.

Randwick Council is determined to implement an eight year-old policy dating back to 2005, under which they will examine all current ar- rangements with those groups and institutions using their facilities. When doing so, Randwick Council wants to charge ‘commer- cial market rates’. However, the plan operates under several fictions: Randwick Council assumes the role of a Westfield-like commercial entity treating SOS Pre-School?like a shoe shop. The council has installed a sophisticated negotiat- ing process under which it issues?a ‘market evaluation’, which in turn forces anyone interested in avoiding the disabling fee increase that is the outcome of this evaluation to negoti- ate with the council. In order to do so, SOS Pre-School has already had to spend $3,000 to produce an ‘independent’ evaluation in order to reduce Randwick Council’s cash grab from stratospheric levels to a ‘mere’ 300% increase.

Defending a pre-school against a Labor council is expensive. In these negotiations, the Labor council offered a ‘generous’ discount based on its shoe shop fiction. It subtracts a fictional percentage from a fic- tional rent increase that the council calls ‘subsidy’. This is supposed to make SOS Pre-School believe that the generous Labor council gives them a ‘subsidy’ while in reality crunching up the fee.

George Orwell would have loved to see his ‘Ministry of Love’ – a place of torture – in action! In the Labor council’s fiction, a 300% increase becomes a subsidy! One might think of this as a pure example of ‘the madness of King George’, but it is a cool, rationally operated hit on chil- dren carried out by a Labor council. It is the epitome of ‘the rationality of irrationality’, a highly irrational plan carried out with rational precision.

But Randwick Council’s plan incurs several problems. It assumes the role of property-owner renting out a commercial place, but the council is a community-based non- profit institution, not a commercial property tycoon. Similarly, SOS Pre- School is also a community-based non-profit institution providing an educational service to the Randwick community. It is not a profit-making entity. The 300% fee increase will take valuable funding away from children. It is a straight cash-transfer from children to Randwick Council. The 300% fee increase is money that cannot be used to educate children. Perhaps Labor’s conquest for ‘The Privatisation of Everything’ should stop when it hurts children. Instead of hitting children with a 300% fee rise, Randwick’s Labor council should support the non-profit institution by donating funds to the upkeep of SOS Pre-School. A com- munity is descending and perhaps disintegrating when the best one can hope for from one’s own Labor council is not to be hit – never mind being supported. Perhaps in the end Randwick Council’s slogan -?‘A sense of community’ – printed?on every rubbish bin is just that: rubbish.

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