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Monday, 22 March 2004
Page: 26753

Mr COX (1:50 PM) —The government has abandoned two successful programs in Adelaide's southern suburbs which have been providing breakfast to disadvantaged kids who would otherwise go through the school day hungry. The breakfast club programs at Hackham West and Christies Downs Community Centres will close on 30 June as a result of a federal government decision not to continue their funding. They were the southern component of a pilot program which has been evaluated and found to be an outstanding success. What could be more fundamental to a child's education than having breakfast so that they will be able to concentrate during their day at school? The breakfast clubs also provide an important community link to services and support for the children's families.

The Department of Family and Community Services funded the pilot program, but the federal government has not made provision for it to continue, despite its success. The federal government has let these kids and the local community down badly. The breakfast club at Hackham West has some important financial support from local business but needs about $28,000 to continue for the next year. The government's only response has been to suggest that the centre apply for an outside school hours care program as an alternative. This is not a child-care program and that ignores the fact that there is a major national shortfall in the provision of outside school hours care. This is a major failure to follow through on what was a commitment to support these kids. The local community has been doing their bit. The program is getting the intended results and you cannot just abandon it. I will be taking this matter up personally with the minister. (Time expired)