Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

Government improving, not cutting support for child care

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Larry Anthony, today rejected claims by the Australian Labor Party that the Government was considering cuts to child care.

“The Australian Government’s commitment to supporting child care remains at the record level of $8 billion for the next four years. We have spent 70 per cent more on child care over the last six years than Labor did in their last six years in office.

“In September 2002 I announced the Australian Government was to look at the funding arrangements for child care services and support services, other than Child Care Benefit. This funding allocation is known as the Child Care Support Broadband and was around $180 million last financial year.

“A process of widespread consultation has been undertaken to ensure that all stakeholders had the opportunity to put their views as to how this funding should be focussed. More than 450 formal submissions were received and there were meetings held around Australia. The report from the consultants was released today.

“The Australian Labor Party had every opportunity to participate in this process but chose not to. Predictably, they took the easy road and over the last 12 months, and even in the Senate today, instead of making a meaningful contribution they chose to scare Australian families.

“Today in the Senate, the Labor Spokeswoman for Children and Youth said:

Now that we have this report released, we do know it recommends stripping operational support from Family Day Care. There is no way the Government can move from that now.

“I challenge Labor Spokeswoman to point to where the consultant’s report ‘recommends stripping operational support from Family Day Care.’ She needs to explain this to me, to the Senate and to the 85,000 Australian families using Family Day Care.

“I have consistently said that this review is not about cutting costs, trimming budgets or spending less on child care. It is about providing greater support to the child care sector as a whole to ensure the needs of families and children using child care are met.

“Policy development and serious contributions to debate is all too hard for the Labor Party. It is this Government who is committed to supporting the range of child care choices we have made available to Australian families,” Mr Anthony said