ABC Learning approached Government for funding

Beleaguered childcare group ABC Learning has reportedly approached the Federal Government in a desperate bid to get taxpayer funds to shore up its operations.

Beleaguered childcare group ABC Learning has reportedly approached the Federal Government in a desperate bid to get taxpayer funds to shore up its operations.

The revelations, reported in The Australian, come just weeks after ABC Learning parted ways with the founder and chief executive Eddy Groves. The company’s shares, which have slumped from around $7 to just 54c in the last 12 months, remain in a trading halt pending the delayed release of ABC’s accounts for 2007-08.

ABC receives around $300 million each year from taxpayers, via subsidies for childcare payments. The company runs 1100 centres and is responsible for around 100,000 long daycare places.

A spokesman for Education Minister Julia Gillard declined to comment on any approaches for assistance, but told the newspaper that the Government had been watching the business closely.

“At present, ABC Learning Centres continue to provide childcare as normal. The Government recognises that detailed processes are being worked through by ABC at present to provide information to the market and the public.”

ABC is yet to say when its accounts for the last financial year will be released. It is believed the company’s new auditor, Ernst & Young, is seeking to restate the company’s books for the past two years.

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