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ABC not as easy as 1,2,3 for the Rudd Labor Government.

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The Hon Bob Baldwin MP Federal Member for Paterson

17 November 2008

ABC not as easy as 1,2,3 for the Rudd Labor Government

Federal Member for Paterson, Bob Baldwin has joined with Shadow Minister for Childcare and Early Childhood Education Sophie Mirabella MP, in raising concern of the Government’s inadequate and hollow response to the ABC Learning Crisis.

“With more than seven ABC Learning centres in the Paterson electorate including campuses at Nelson Bay, Nelson Bay East, Anna Bay, Tanilba Bay, Medowie, Largs and Thornton, the entire community will feel the repercussions of the Rudd Labor Government’s inadequacies,” Mr Baldwin said.

“Parents around the country continue to be left out in the cold by the Rudd Government that still, after another week of questions from the Opposition, has failed on more than 5 occasions to outline the Government’s so-called emergency contingency plans for ABC learning,” Mr Baldwin said.

“The response Australian families have had from the Rudd Government has been embarrassingly hollow. The Government provided $22 million last week for the ailing company but this will only guarantee to keep the doors open until 31 December,” Mr Baldwin said.

The Coalition has consistently called on the Government to answer the following question that working parents around the country who rely on ABC Learning are demanding to be answered:

- What is Government’s plans post-Christmas when the $22 million runs out? - Will the Government outline their contingency plans that Ms Gillard spoke about weeks ago so parents can begin to feel safe and

secure? - Will the Government just throw more money at ABC Learning? - What will the Government do if centres start to close, particularly in

rural and regional Australia where in some communities the only childcare in operation is an ABC Learning Centre? - Will the minister condemn her own State Labor Government in NSW for a new tax slug of $1100 on NSW Childcare Centres? - How will parents be able to organise alternative care for their

children when the Government’s $22 million package to ABC expires a week after Christmas?

“Ms Gillard’s super portfolio of Deputy Prime Minister, Education, Employment, Workplace Relations and Social Inclusion as well as having to pick up the scraps of Maxine McKew’s ineptitude, is

preventing the Rudd Government from giving Childcare and Early Childhood Education the commitment and attention it deserves,” Mr Baldwin said.

“After personally attacking and denigrating Opposition MPs who have asked questions of the Government all week in Parliament, the Government should now cast aside the political games and come clean with Australian working parents who are left wondering how they will work in the new year without the necessary childcare,” Mr Baldwin said.

“The parents of the 120,000 children, who currently attend ABC Learning Centres around the country and 16,000 ABC employees, want leadership and action from their government in such uneasy times. They deserve more than the sketchy promises they are currently getting from the Government,” Mr Baldwin said.

Media enquiries: Lizzie Watkin - 0404 005 036

Bob Baldwin - 0419 694 620 Electorate: PO Box 156 Raymond Terrace NSW 2324, 35 Sturgeon Street Raymond Terrace. Phone (02) 4983 1330 Canberra: Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600 Phone (02) 6277 4200