Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Applications invited for new child care places

The Howard Government is delivering its Budget commitment to assist parents with child care with moves to allocate 15,000 new Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) places in existing and new child care services.

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, said advertisements would be placed in newspapers starting from this Saturday, 18 June, inviting applications for the new OSHC places.

“The 15,000 new places represent the first year’s allocation of the 84,300 additional OSHC child care places over the coming four years, as announced in last month’s Budget as part of the Government’s Welfare to Work package,” Senator Patterson said.

“This is a far cry from Labor’s commitment last election for a further 8,000 places. In fact in one weekend, the Howard Government will advertise for almost twice as many Outside School Hours Care Places than Labor would have provided in three years.

“The Howard Government’s Budget announcement follows the allocation of 40,000 additional OSHC places during 2003-04, which met demand at that time.

“Increased workforce participation by parents and others is crucial to the Howard Government’s strategies to address Australia’s ageing population which will see a relatively smaller workforce supporting increasing numbers of aged people,” Senator Patterson said.

The closing date for applications is 29 July 2005 and it is expected that the first 15,000 OSHC places will be allocated to services by early November 2005.

Anyone wanting to start a new OSHC service or expand an existing service should contact their state or territory office of the Australian Department of Family and Community Services on 1300 653 227.