Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

Continuing focus on rural and remote communities

The creation and delivery of flexible child care services for Australians living in rural and remote communities will be a continuing focus for the Federal Government, Community Services Minister, Larry Anthony, said today.Speaking as part of Children’s Week, October 23-31, Mr Anthony said the Government had a clear agenda to strengthen families and communities.

“This is particularly important in rural and remote areas where the declining population, lack of infrastructure, isolation and telecommunications difficulties impact on the delivery of Government services in rural and remote areas,” he said.

“The Department of Family and Community Services’ in-home child care program for families living on stations is an example of innovative service delivery in the bush.

“Essentially, any parent employed on a station or property whether he or she works in the mustering camp or at the station as a gardener or a bookkeeper can access the care.

“The family is required to provide board and lodging to the carer but the cost of care can be substantially subsidised depending on the family’s existing level of Government support.

Mr Anthony cited the changed funding arrangements for the Yarrabah Child Care Centre, outside Cairns, as another example of the Government’s targeted approach to child care in isolated areas.

“Parents of the Centre were experiencing difficulty in accessing Childcare Assistance,” he said.

“The Government agreed to change the funding arrangements so that where family is entitled to subsidised child care, the subsidy is paid direct to the centre. This approach is particularly advantageous in remote areas where access to government offices may prove more difficult.”

“This innovative approach is the type of initiative that highlights the Government’s focus on strengthening families. No government can legislate to make families strong, but we can set up financial and community systems that positively support families.”