Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

Child Care Report tells only part of story

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s Report Trend in Long Day Care Services for Children in Australia, 1991-99 highlights only part of the Coalition Government’ s success in making child care more affordable for Australian families Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Larry Anthony, said today.

“The Report does not cover the period from July 2000 when Child Care Benefit (CCB) was introduced. CCB has been a major investment by the Government and directly responsible for giving record numbers of families the option of using Commonwealth funded child care.

“However, the Report does show that the Coalition Government has been on the right track since 1996. Our expenditure of 70 per cent more over the last six years compared to Labor’s last six years in power has dramatically increased the number of child care services and places. This is true in not only long day care, but right across all forms of child care.

“Our record allocation of funding for child care has achieved;

  • An increase in the number of children using childcare from 545,000 in 1997 to 718,000 today;
  • An increase of around 200,000 places since 1996; and
  • An increase in the number of child care services from 7,930 in June 1996 to 10,050 in June 2001

“We have made a priority of supporting more flexible child care options that are tailored to meet the individual families needs. We have moved a long way from the previous Labor Government’s ‘one size fits all’ approach.

“Our commitment for child care will reach a record $8 billion over the next four years. This significant increase in Government assistance to help parents with the cost has substantially increased the affordability of child care.

“We understand by making child care more affordable, demand will continue to rise. That is why we have removed restrictions on long day care places and opened it up to the market. This has been successful in increasing the numbers of services and places.

“Child care has been a success story of the Coalition Government. No one can question our commitment to making child care more affordable, flexible and available,” Mr Anthony said.