Nearly 20 staff at Stepping Stones child care centres across Tasmania have lost their jobs and some fees at other centres are increasing. The company is also closing five centres in Victoria. Stepping Stones has been lobbying the Tasmanian Government for a payroll tax exemption saying it cannot afford the $120,000 a year bill. It has announced plans to close an after-school care service at George Town and review its all-day care centre at Zeehan, after raising fees by 33 per cent. The Stepping Stones Chief Executive Chantal Williams says the company has also cut out-of-school-hours services at Riverside, Youngtown, Deloraine, Zeehan, Queenstown and South Arm … David O’Byrne of the union representing childcare workers has questioned the company’s stated reasons for the cutbacks. He says Stepping Stones is a business like any other … Chantal Williams says the union’s response doesn’t surprise her. “David O’Byrne is running for a seat in parliament, so of course he’s going to back the Labor Government,” she said. Read more here