SA child care places continue to grow
The number of child care places in South Australia has grown substantially over the past year as a direct result of the Howard Government’s initiative to uncap new places for most child care services.
Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Mal Brough, said that in the past year alone the number of child care places in South Australia had increased by 3,800 – providing places for up to as many as 19,000 children.
“Under the Howard Government the number of child care places in South Australia has grown by a mammoth 182 per cent since 1996, from 19,691 places to 55,379 places,” Mr Brough said.
“These figures underscore the importance of the Government’s initiatives in uncapping most of the child care sector.
“Coupled with Long Day Care, which was already uncapped, lifting limits on Outside School Hours Care and Family Day Care has given the industry the scope and incentive to set up new services or expand to meet growing demand.
“In the last 12 months, 46 new centres have opened across South Australia.
Mr Brough said vacancy data from the Child Care Access Hotline showed that more than 9000, and up to almost 10,700 places were available in South Australia each day in the week of the 16 July 2007.
“On costs, the Howard Government has significantly increased support direct to parents, through Child Care Benefit (CCB) and the Child Care Tax Rebate (CCTR).
“CCB increased by 13.3 per cent from 1 July 2007 – a 10 per cent increase on top of the regular indexation increase.
“We’ve also improved CCTR, which provides working parents with up to 30 per cent of out of pocket child care expenses up to $4,211 per year per child to ensure it’s paid sooner and that more people can access the full benefit.
“On the other side, Labor has offered parents using child care nothing, except the real threat of increasing fees and a constant barrage of claims of a child care crisis.
“Even the child care sector itself disagrees with Jenny Macklin, with Childcare Associations Australia President, Anne Clarke saying: ” ..it is not appropriate to create the misleading impression that high quality child care services are beyond the reach of ordinary Australian families, or there are significant problems with under-supply or quality”.
“Labor’s plan that all child care centres, including small Family Day Care centres have tertiary qualified staff, will drive up wages costs and increase pressure on fees.
“Compared with the Howard Government record, there is no doubt who is offering families the best when it comes to child care.
“Spending under the Coalition on child care has almost trebled since Labor, with an investment of $11 billion over the next four years and a doubling in the number of places.”
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