Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Almost 17,000 extra Outside School Hours Care places

:Almost 17,000 extra Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) places will be delivered across 900 before school, after school and vacation care services as part of the Howard Government’s ongoing commitment to further help families access quality child care.

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, today said the new places would be allocated to services across all States and Territories.

“This new allocation will provide regional communities with more than 3,600 extra places, while families in 30 communities will have access to OSHC for the first time,” Senator Patterson said.

“Communities like, Rushworth in Victoria, Carnarvon in Western Australia, Tarro in New South Wales, Wallaroo in South Australia and Goombungee in Queensland will, for the first time, be able to provide families access to OSHC places.

“The Howard Government is currently meeting all confirmed demand from services on the allocation of OSHC places.

“The extra places are part of the Howard Government’s 2005-06 Budget announcement of $210 million in funding over the next four years for additional places in areas of Australia where there is demonstrated unmet need.

“The Budget commitment will result in the number of OSHC places increasing by 84 300, Family Day Care places by 2,500 and In-Home Care places by 1,000.

“This latest allocation of OSHC will increase the total number of places now available to services across Australia to more than 285,000 – a significant increase from the 72,000 available in 1996.

“These places will provide quality child care allowing families to participate economically and socially in the community and help balance the demands of work and family.

“The Howard Government will continue to deliver child care options for families, giving parents the opportunity to work or study and provide a better future for them and their children,” Senator Patterson said.