Media Release by The Hon Mal Brough MP

Families benefit from playgroups

Over $4 million in funding for eight new specialised playgroups and seven existing mobile playgroups has been announced as part of the Australian Government’s commitment to supporting families, especially those in need.

"We have doubled our Intensive Support Playgroups which are assisting vulnerable families in at least 60 sites across Australia. These mobile playgroups which set up in areas of identified need, promote positive early childhood development, assist parents and increase child safety and wellbeing," Mr Brough said.

"The Howard Government’s overall playgroups program, delivers $22.5 million over four years to support 100,000 families across Australia, providing practical outcomes for children and families.

"This funding includes the Government’s current roll out of $11.3 million to expand playgroups, creating 4,000 new Community Playgroups, 200 Supported Playgroups and eight new Intensive Support Playgroups.

"There are currently 8,500 Community Playgroups supported by the Australian Government that provides parents, grandparents and caregivers with opportunities to share ideas and experiences while their children interact and further develop their social skills through play.

"The new Supported Playgroups builds on the existing strengths of parents and caregivers by providing guidance and support to assist them to access a playgroup and to help them raise their children.

"By the end of this year, 67 new Supported Playgroups will be operational across Australia, helping families from Indigenous, culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, grandparents raising grandchildren, young parent families, isolated or disadvantaged families and those managing mental health or disability issues."

"In addition to the direct funding and support we provide for playgroups, the Howard Government also changed tax rules in 2004, to allow donations to Playgroups Australia and their state-based affiliates to be tax deductible. This assisted with their general funding-raising and support activities.

"This overall approach demonstrates the Government’s commitment to deliver further opportunities for positive early childhood development and support for parents, enabling children to have the best chance to learn, grow and have fun together," Mr Brough said.