Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Australian Government To Fund More Than 1000 New Long Day Care Places In Rural And Urban Fringe Areas

More than 1000 long day care places could be created in rural and urban fringe areas under an almost $13 million Howard Government scheme to help families living in areas of high unmet need.

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson said expressions of interest would be sought from community based and private child care providers in newspaper advertisements this weekend (February 19).

“The successful applicants will receive short term funding incentives to establish facilities in areas where there has been no access to long day care and a high unmet demand for child care places,” Senator Patterson said.

“Funding is being provided under the Government’s Long Day Care Incentive Scheme which is designed to encourage 25 new long day care centres offering at least 1000 places, including incentives for places for young children under the age of two.

“The Government’s support ensures the viability of child care services in rural and urban fringe communities while the providers establish their client base and utilisation rates to sustainable levels.

“The Government is committed to ensuring as many families as possible have access to affordable child care so that they may better manage their work and family commitments.

“This Scheme led to eight new long day care centres being approved in four states last year which will provide 360 places for children including 130 for those aged under two.

“It is another successful component of the Government’s $500 million Stronger Families and Communities Strategy and a part of the Government’s unprecedented levels of support for child care assistance.

“This record level of assistance includes payment of $1.5 billion a year to families through Child Care Benefit (CCB) and more than $200 million to support services through the Child Care Support Program (CCSP). We are also meeting our election commitments with further assistance of around $1 billion for the 30 per cent childcare tax rebate.

“The Howard Government has done more than any other to assist parents to combine their work and family responsibilities with record funding for child care, a record number of places and unprecedented assistance for families with the costs of the care they choose to use,” Senator Patterson said.