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Childcare Centre Closures

A transitional plan to close childcare centres at RAAF Bases Amberley, Darwin and Williamtown is now underway.

Parents were advised of the decision to close the centres in September 2015, following an international research that indicates there is a potential risk that noise exposure may affect children's rate of learning; when compared to a quiet environment.

According to ongoing environmental noise monitoring on and around all RAAF Bases, Defence continues to meet Workplace Health and Safety standards for adult exposure to aircraft noise.

RAAF Base Williamtown

  • Children’s facilities including the Child Care Centre, Pre-School and Playgroup at RAAF Base Williamtown were moved off-base at the end of December 2016 due to concerns over the potential effect of aircraft noise on children.
  • A purpose built children’s facility was to be constructed at Medowie. However, given the availability of community-managed childcare and preschool places now available in the area, Defence has determined that there is no longer a requirement for a new facility. An independent review by Grosvenor Management Consulting indicates a significant increase in community-owned childcare and preschool services in the area.

RAAF Base Amberley

  • Due to sufficient childcare places available in the Ipswich community, all children have been placed into alternative care from January 2016 and the RAAF Base Amberley Childcare Centre closed at the end of 2015.
  • Based on feedback from parents, Defence is currently seeking an alternative location or facility off base which would enable playgroup children and parents to be moved. This option may not be possible, but is an option that is being investigated as a high priority.

RAAF Base Darwin

  • Due to available childcare places in the Darwin community, all children have now been placed into alternative care and the RAAF Base Darwin Childcare Centre has now been closed.
  • The RAAF Base Darwin playgroup at Billeroy House is currently receiving support to relocate to an alternate site.

Parents seeking more information should talk to their childcare provider or call the Defence Family Helpline on 1800 624 608

Download the Childcare Subsidies Factsheet by ADF Financial Services Consumer Care: October 2015

Timeline

Defence advised parents in 2014 of plans to conduct extensive noise testing at our childcare centres at RAAF Bases Amberley, Darwin and Williamtown.

After reviewing the initial and follow-on noise studies, Professor Deepak Prasher, Emeritus Professor of Audiology at University College London, provided a preliminary assessment to Defence in late August 2015.

In September 2015, parents were advised that the initial results of noise testing research have not alleviated Defence's concerns about the potential effects of noise exposure for children's health and wellbeing.

While Defence has never received a report for hearing loss or learning difficulties concerning a child who has attended an activity on any of the three RAAF Bases, it is prudent to advise parents and carers of the early findings and to take appropriate action as soon as reasonably practicable as a precaution.

Given the assessed health and safety risk to children, Defence is taking steps to close affected centres through a staged transition plan. There is no specific closure date, this will be managed each centre in a staged way, so that alternative care arrangements can be made.

According to ongoing environmental noise monitoring on and around all RAAF Bases, Defence continues to meet Workplace Health and Safety standards for adult exposure to aircraft noise.