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Senate committee hearing into child care funding



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MEDIA RELEASE -V A U S T R A L I A V -

THE SENATE

SENATE COMMITTEE HEARING INTO CHILD CARE FUNDING

BRISBANE, 16 JUNE 1998

The Senate Community Affairs References Committee is_to hold a public hearing on its inquiry into child care funding at the Brisbane Exhibition and Convention Centre, Southbank, on Tuesday, 16 June 1998, commencing at 9.00 am.

The Committee Chairman, Senator Mark Bishop (ALP, WA), said that hearings for the child care inquiry have been held in Brunswick, Penrith, Gosford, Adelaide and Perth. The Brisbane hearing will be the last hearing at which evidence will be taken from peak organisations, providers and users of child care. The Committee will hold its final

hearing on the inquiry on 25 June 1998 in Canberra to take evidence from officers of the Department of Health and Family Services.

Senator Bishop said ‘the Committee has gathered extensive evidence on the impact of changes to the delivery of all types of child care services. Not only were peak organisations invited to give evidence, but also individuals from the audience and

representatives from individual child care centres were given the opportunity to directly address the Committee. This provided the Committee with first hand information on the impact on child care centres - their costs, fee levels, operational viability and access to their services; and the impact on parents, especially financial, and their

decisions whether to retain children in child care, make alternative arrangements or remain in the paid workforce. The Committee will also be inviting providers and individuals to put their views at the hearing in Brisbane’.

Senator Bishop noted that interest in the inquiry has been excessive with nearly 1,000 submissions having been received by the Committee from all over Australia and from a broad range of parents, providers and other organisations involved with child care services.

A copy of the full terms of reference and public hearing program is attached.

For further information contact:

Senator Mark Bishop, Chairman - 08 9472 6177 Perth or 0419 959 892 mobile

Elton Humphery, Secretary- 0 2 6277 3515

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11 June 1998

SENATE COMMUNITY AFFAIRS REFERENCES COMMITTEE

INQUIRY INTO CHILD CARE FUNDING

The following matter was referred to the Senate Community Affairs References Committee on 11 November 1997 for inquiry and report by 30 June 1998:

(a) impact on families, children and child care services of:

(i) the abolition of grants and subsidies to child care and vacation care and any future abolition of operational subsidies for family day care services, (ii) any reduction of families' access to child care assistance and the child care rebate, (iii) families only being able to access child care subsidies in the form of child

care assistance and the child care rebate if their children are cared for by carers other than the parents, (iv) limits on and regional allocation of child care hours and places and the extent of unmet demand for child care places,

(v) any reduction in quality of services or the accreditation system, and (iv) implementing the Child Care Payments Bill 1997 on 27 April 1998;

(b) the extent and impact of:

(i) fee increases related to budget cuts, (ii) child care service closures, (iii) any reduction in child care places, (iv) the use and nature of unregulated, backyard care, and

(v) any reduction in hours and services provided to children;

(c) the effect of taxation, including but not limited to the Family Tax Initiative on parents and their ability and choice to participate in the paid work force or in the full-time care of their children;

(d) the effect of child care subsidies (in the form of child care assistance and the child care rebate) being available only for families who contract out their child care to others, and not for those who provide child care at home;

(e) the effect of fee increases and changes in the child care sector on women and their ability and choice to participate in the work force;

(f) the extent of reductions in Federal Government revenue from people leaving the work force because they cannot afford child care services and the additional cost to Government of social security payments to them and their families;

(g) the impact on work-based child care and workers where fringe benefit tax exemption for employer-sponsored care has been denied and any restriction on child care places; and x

(h) the impact of the Government’s changes on workers in the child care industry and their conditions, and associated job losses.