ABC sets up in Canada

Liam Walsh, Courier-Mail, Brisbane

CHILDCARE giant ABC Learning Centres has set up a Canadian company despite claiming it has no immediate plans to expand there.

ABC Canadian Holdings was established this August and its directors include ABC Learning co-founder Eddy Groves, owner of basketball’s Brisbane Bullets.

The giant childcare company – which has more than 2200 centres in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and US – is Canadian Holdings’ sole shareholder.

“It is a dormant company with no assets and no trading,” ABC’s spokesman said yesterday.

He declined to comment on why it was created. But he repeated comments in The Courier-Mail yesterday – ABC had no plans for operations outside its current four countries “in the near future”.

The revelations come as Canadian organisations protest against a private childcare push linked to Australians.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees said it would be “fighting the
sell-off of childcare and the expansion of privatisation of childcare

The Toronto Star had reported ABC was eyeing Canada via Ontario-based 123 Busy Beavers Learning Centres. But ABC has said 123 companies were separate businesses. 123 Busy Beavers lists Don Jones and Graeme Wilkie as executives.

They share the same names as directors of privately owned and Brisbane-based Busy Beavers Investments.

That business’s Murarrie address is the same as some ABC Childcare Centres. It also was ABC’s former registered office.

Mr Jones is also a director of 123 Global companies. 123 Global says it
provides “state-of-the-art childcare facilities” with ABC and Busy Beavers being key clients.

ABC and 123 Busy Beavers share other links.

Its national operations manager is Marnie Testa, who is understood to have worked for ABC until last year….