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Tuesday, 7 December 1976

Mr Les Johnson (HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES) asked the Minister, representing the Minister for Social Security, upon notice:

(   1 ) What amounts of aid were provided for pre-schools in each of the years 1969-70 to 1975-76.

(2)   What amount is appropriated for 1976-77.

(3)   What sum was paid to each pre-school in each of the years 1969-70 to 1975-76.

(4)   What amount is to be paid to each pre-school during 1976-77.

(5)   Which of these pre-schools provide (a) full day care, (b) full day holiday programs, (c) part day holiday programs and (d) non-five daycare.

Mr Hunt -The Minister for Social Security has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(1)   Commonwealth assistance for non-profit pre-schools generally in the States commenced in April 1974 but with effect from January of that year. The amounts provided as recurrent assistance under the Interim Pre-School Program and under the Children's Services Program in the years 1973/74 to 1975/76 are set out in the table below. Funds provided through the Commonwealth Department of Education for pre-school services in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory and through the Department of Aboriginal Affairs for special pre-school services for aboriginals are not included.


(2   ) Funds have not been separately sought in the 1 976-77 appropriations for grants for pre-school services. Of the $73.3m provided in appropriation Nos. 1 and 2 (1976-77) for the Children's Services Program it is estimated that $38.5m will be expended from these appropriations on recurrent assistance for pre-school services.

(3)   and (4) Responsibility for the disbursement of Commonwealth grants to pre-schools rests with the relevant authorities in each State. A detailed breakdown of the application of Commonwealth recurrent assistance to each of the more than 3000 pre-school centres is not available at the Commonwealth level.

The basis of Commonwealth recurrent assistance has varied since the commencement of that assistance in 1974. Until 31 December 1975 Commonwealth assistance was directed, in the main, towards the difference between State f rants at December 1973 levels and the award salaries of taff working with children in the one year before school entry. Pre-schools built with Commonwealth capital grants received 100 per cent of the award salaries of agreed staff. As from 1 January 1976, recurrent assistance for pre-schools has been made in line with agreements reached with the States during 1975 on the basis of 75 per cent of the award salaries of agreed staff subject to progress towards the extension and integration of the services offered by the pre-schools. Recurrent funding for pre-schools will, from 1 January 1977, be in the form of fixed lump sum grants to each State for disbursement by each State.

(5)   States are responsible for the licensing and regulation of pre-schools and pre-school services, except those in the Territories. The Commonwealth does not have details of the range of Services operated by each pre-school.

For the most part, pre-schools operate during school hours and school terms, and provide developmental services for children in the year or two before they reach school entry age. Children normally attend for 3-5 half day sessions each week. Children attending pre-school are cared for by the pre-school during the time they are in attendance, and in this way pre-schools may contribute to child care needs of families.

Some pre-schools include provision for children to attend on an extended sessional basis, while a small but growing number of pre-schools operate a full day care service in association with the sessional pre-school service. Similarly, some pre-schools are used for outside school hours care, including holiday care programs.

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