Media Release by The Hon Mal Brough MP

Howard Government on track to deliver child care places to families

Contrary to media reports today, the Howard Government is continuing to deliver more child care places to families throughout Australia than any previous government.

Families and Community Services Minister Mal Brough said claims in the media that the Government had failed to allocate the 84 300 Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) places promised in the 2005-06 Budget were wrong.

"The Howard Government is on track to delivering families OSHC places as planned," Mr Brough said.

"The Government allocated 15 000 places in November 2005 and applications for a further 14 650 places closed in April 2006.

"An additional 29 650 places will be allocated and available in 2007-08 and an extra 25 000 places in 2008-09.

"These places are part of a four year plan to deliver an additional 84 300 places to Australian families.

"Since 1996 places have doubled from 300 000 to 600 000 under this Government and spending has increased to a projected $9.5 billion over the four years to 2008-09."

The Government has also amended legislation to allow unused places to be better re-allocated.

"We encourage services to voluntarily relinquish them for reallocation into areas of higher demand," Mr Brough said.

"Labor moved amendments to try to restrict the reallocation process and put further barriers in the way of effectively using those places. Earlier this month I announced a further measure to assist Australian parents in their search for quality child care and for the first time.

"From July the Child Care Access Hotline will be expanded to allow parents to know the availability of a place near where they live or work."