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Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

Ongoing support for children with special needs

From 1 July children with ongoing high support needs will benefit when an additional ($25.8 million over four years for child care becomes available.

“This recent budget measure clearly demonstrates the Coalition Government’s commitment to help children with special needs attend Commonwealth funded child care,” Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Larry Anthony, said today.

“Families who have children with diagnosed disabilities or children undergoing assessment for disabilities or developmental needs will benefit from a funding boost to the Special Needs Subsidy Scheme (SNSS).

“Access to affordable and high quality child care is vital for families to meet the developmental, educational and social needs of their young children with special needs while at the same time enabling parents to work, study, and participate in the general community.

“Since the Coalition Government introduced SNSS in 1997 over 8000 children have benefited and these additional funds will bring the total amount of SNSS funding for 2003-04 to over $26 million and will provide help to around 1250 additional children and their families.

“The additional funding will enable child care services to employ additional child care workers, contribute to the purchase of specialised equipment and assist with training child care staff so that children in their care receive the best support possible.

“Providing high quality child care to all Australian families continues to be a priority of the Coalition Government. Funding for child care is at record levels and $8 billion has been allocated for child care over four years (2002-03 to 2005-06), and a record 720,000 children are using Commonwealth funded child care.

“The additional SNSS funding over the next four years confirms that the Coalition’s ongoing commitment to delivering child care for Australian families is unparalleled,” Mr Anthony said.