Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Quality should be top priority for states and territories

The Minister for Family and Community Services, has today welcomed moves by Western Australia to strengthen their child care standards, but slammed NSW and Victoria for still failing to regulate all their services.

“I welcome the WA Government’s announcement that they will fund a new childcare licencing and prosecution unit, which will mean extra resources and expertise in monitoring quality in childcare services.

“WA seems to be taking quality seriously, but unfortunately this is not the case in NSW and Victoria. I am appalled that NSW does not regulate Outside School Hours Care and Victoria does not regulate either Family Day Care or Outside School Hours Care.

‘This is totally unacceptable and on behalf of parents I demand they regulate these services.

“While I commend WA’s foresight in addressing the issue of quality, I have today written to their Education Minister Ravlich to express my concern that less than 20% of state schools in WA have an outside school hours care service.

“The majority of states and territories have OSHC services in over 50% of their state schools. I have asked the WA Minister to look at ways of encouraging schools to have a service on their site.

“The states and territories have a significant role to play in child care and I encourage them to work with the Howard Government in continuing to ensure parents are provided with the highest quality care their children deserve.”