Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

Report shows an increase in child care services

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Larry Anthony, today welcomed the release of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s biannual report about Australia’s welfare system, Australia’s Welfare 2003, showing an increase in usage of formal child care.

“Figures in the report show that between 1991 and 2001 child care services supported by the Australian Government increased from 3,972 to 10,050. Funded places also substantially increased from 168,276 to 500,034.

“There was also considerable growth in Outside School Hours Care places between 1991 and 2001, with the number of places increasing from 44,449 to 230,000.

“This report highlights again the misinformation circulated by the Labor Party. Labor Spokesperson, Senator Jacinta Collins just this week released a statement saying that the number of child care places had not increased.

“The Australian Government remains committed to facilitating access to affordable, high quality care. We are maintaining a record allocation of $8 billion over the next four years, which is delivering an average payment of $2,000 a year in Child Care Benefit to Australian families.

“The report also shows that the national trend in child abuse and neglect notifications is increasing. The Australian Government is providing leadership in this area and is committed to a range of early intervention and prevention approaches.

“This commitment includes the development of a National Agenda for Early Childhood, the Stronger Families and Communities Strategy, Men and Family Relationships program and the Child Abuse Prevention Program.

“We are also working with the State and Territory Governments, who have responsibility for child protection issues, in the areas of foster care, indigenous children’s issues and developing a national child sex offender register.

“This report is an excellent resource and provides a greater understanding into the issues and challenges faced, and outlines the Government’s continuing efforts to better support Australian families,” Mr Anthony said.