Media Release by The Hon Julie Collins MP

National Families Week highlights early learning

Joint Media Release with:

  • Senator Carol Brown, Senator for Tasmania, Deputy Government Whip in the Senate

Children and families in Hobart today joined the Minister for Community Services, Julie Collins and Senator for Tasmania Carol Brown, to launch National Families Week 2012, celebrating the importance of happy, healthy families.

At a Playgroup Tasmania event in New Town, Ms Collins said the Week highlighted the importance of early learning in the home with its theme Families make all the difference: helping kids to grow and learn.

“The encouraging news is most parents understand the benefits of a strong family support network in the education of their children and are making the most of their kids’ early years,” Ms Collins said.

“More parents are reading to their small children – they’re involved in reading activities for 80 per cent of kids under two, with that figure jumping to 96 per cent for children between three and eight.

“Playgroups provide valuable backup for parents who don’t have a wide or close family network.

“Playgroups are a great place for kids to start their development – they help kids learn through fun activities like singing, dancing and art, and get them ready to start school.

“The Gillard Government recognises the importance of giving children the best possible start in life.

“That’s why we announced in our Budget the new Schoolkids Bonus that will help 1.3 million Australian families with the cost of their children’s education.

“We’re also increasing the Family Tax Benefit Part A from 1 July next year, with around half of all families receiving an extra $600 a year – and we’re cutting taxes for low and middle-income workers.

“That’s why we provide $4 million each year for free or low-cost community playgroups across the country,” Ms Collins said.

Senator Brown said she was pleased to see the Australian Government’s funding of $130,000 to Playgroup Tasmania to deliver more than 150 groups across the State.

“These 150 playgroups are currently being enjoyed by 1600 families, from the inner city to outer suburbs and to small rural communities,” Senator Brown said.

“All children deserve the best possible start in life so they grow up to be happy, healthy safe and productive children.

“I’m proud to be part of a Government that recognises this,” Senator Brown said.

This year, the Gillard Government has provided $372,000 to support Families Australia, including $100,000 for National Families Week celebrations across the country.

“I encourage everyone to join in Families Week events and to think about how important their families are to them and to our communities,” Ms Collins said.

For more information on National Families Week, including activities in your area, visit