Media Release by The Hon Mal Brough MP

Child care boost for Bass

Stepping Stones Outside School Hours Care at Summerdale Primary School will now have an extra 60 after school hours care and 60 vacation care places to offer families in the Launceston area.

Families and Community Services Minister Mal Brough and Federal Member for Bass Michael Ferguson today announced the places while visiting several services around Launceston.

“These extra places demonstrate the Howard Government’s commitment to providing families with greater access to child care in the Launceston area,” Mr Brough said. “In Bass, about 600 Outside School Hours Care places applied for earlier this year will be available from 1 July provided the services meet relevant criteria.”

Today’s announcement will build on the 1330 existing OSHC and Family Day Care places in the Bass electorate and follows the uncapping of OSHC and FDC in the Federal Budget last week. The uncapping will mean that services will find it easier to expand or set up and not have to wait months to be allocated places.

Mr Brough said carers of children in the Launceston area, who might not normally attend playgroups, will also benefit from a specialised playgroup to open in June, with the help of $7000 in Howard Government funding.

“The playgroup, in Invermay, Launceston, will provide support for grandparents who are the primary carers for their grandchildren, and it will be accessed by around 10 families in the Launceston area,” Mr Brough said.

Mr Brough congratulated Mr Ferguson on being a strong voice in Bass on child care.

The Howard Government is investing a record $9.5 billion for child care and the 2006-07 Budget did even more. The Government also increased JET funding so that income support parents moving back into the workforce face few if any out of pocket child care costs. Mr Brough said the Howard Government has more than doubled the number of funded places from 300,000 under Labor to about 700,000 by 2008-09.

While in Bass, Mr Brough also met with local carers to discuss the $358 million one off lump sum Carer Bonus, which will see recipients of Carer Payment receive $1000 and recipients of the Carer Allowance receive a $600 payment.