Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

Government delivers additional $79.5 million for child care

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Larry Anthony, today announced that the Australian Government will increase the number of child care places and provide more help to parents who choose to be at home with their children.

“From 1 January 2004, the Australian Government will provide an additional $79.5 million over four years for an extra 10,000 Outside School Hours Care places, 2,500 Family Day Care places. Funding will be directed to existing services.

“This will take Government funded Outside School Hours Care places to around 240,000 and Family Day Care places to over 71,000.

“We are committed to providing Australian families with child care options. This funding increase will help ease some of the most critical shortages in time for the coming school holidays and new school year.

“The future needs of Australian families for child care will be considered in the next Budget.

“The additional funding also includes around $11 million to expand the playgroup program. This commitment will fund 4,000 additional mainstream playgroups, more than 200 supported playgroups providing assistance for children and parents with special needs.

“Playgroups are a great support to parents who choose to care for young children at home. I am pleased to have been able to secure increased support for this important program.

“The Government has also decided that the Child Care Support Broadband redevelopment will be considered in the Budget. However, to alleviate the concerns of the Family Day Care sector, I can say now that operational funding for Family Day Care will remain in a redeveloped Child Care Support Broadband.

“The Australian Government has committed unprecedented funding to help parents balance their work and family responsibilities. In our first six years in office, we spent more than 70 per cent more, in real terms, than Labor did in their last six years in office.

“Through a record commitment of over $8 billion for the four years to 2006-07, families who use child care are receiving an average of $2000 per year in Child Care Benefit. The Austrailian Government will continue to invest in Australia’s most important asset, our families and children,” Mr Anthony said.