Media Release by The Hon Sussan Ley MP

Conference to address rural child care needs

The challenges faced by children and families in rural and regional areas will be discussed at an annual conference in country New South Wales today.

Speaking at the Country Children’s Services of NSW (CCSA) Annual Conference in Newcastle today, the Parliamentary Secretary for Children and Youth Affairs, the Hon Sussan Ley, reiterated the Howard Government’s commitment to delivering new and innovative child care options for Australia.

“The conference is an opportunity to focus on the problems faced by rural and regional families and children and acknowledges the need to deliver flexible and high quality child care services to all areas of Australia,” Mrs Ley said.

“In rural and regional areas, families often have fewer child care choices than their city counterparts, and it is vital that wherever possible, services in these areas are given additional support.

“Children’s services are an important platform for ensuring children have positive early learning and care experiences which are crucial to a range of health, learning and social outcomes both now and into the future.

“This is especially the case for the provision of children services in rural and remote areas has its own challenges but it is often out of this environment that innovative models are developed.

“Of particular relevance to rural and regional children is the Howard Government’s Choice and Flexibility in Childcare Program, which is part of the Stronger Families and Communities Strategy.

“This continues the In Home Care program, whilst extending incentives for all long-day care providers to set-up in areas of high need. The program also continues the quality assurance system for Family Day Care and Outside School Hours Care.

“This conference, run by the Country Children’s Services of NSW, is a timely reminder for all those involved that we need to work together to support and assist all families in rural and regional Australia,” Mrs Ley said.