Media Release by The Hon Mal Brough MP

Macklin child care attack on states

“Jenny Macklin’s criticism of child care centres’ over basic standards relating to safety and hygiene amount to a scathing attack on State Labor Governments,” Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Mal Brough, said today.

“Ms Macklin knows that issues such as child safety in child care, food safety and hygiene standards are all areas of state responsibility.

“States and Territories regulate and license child care centres and have the role of ensuring a safe environment is provided for children.

“This is simply an attack from Ms Macklin on her state counterparts and she should be calling on them to lift their game.

“If Ms Macklin wants to name and shame centres, why doesn’t she demand her state colleagues name those centres in their states and territories that have buildings and equipment that are unsafe or fail to control the spread of infectious disease.”

The Minister said he was consulting with the child care sector about changes to the national Quality Assurance system.

“Far from watering down the system, we are strengthening it to ensure quality standards are met in all approved child care services,” Mr Brough said.

“Quality Assurance (QA) aims to ensure the focus is on quality care for children.

“We are integrating the three existing separate QA which cover Long Day Care, Family Day Care and Outside School Hours Care into one system, to reduce overlap and duplication with state areas of responsibility – a move fully supported by the child care sector.

“I have today met my QA National Advisory Group to discuss the new Child Care Quality Accreditation system and have agreed to extend the consultation period until the end of October.

“Trials of the new system will commence from February 2008, with a view to implementation from 1 July 2008.

“We have already introduced spot checks to ensure services maintain quality standards on a daily basis. Where potential issues on matters such as child safety are discovered, relevant state agencies are alerted.”