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Labor's head start for early childhood development: joint statement.



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MARK LATHAM FEDERAL LABOR LEADER

JOINT STATEMENT BY FEDERAL LABOR LEADER MARK LATHAM AND SHADOW MINISTER FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH, JACINTA COLLINS

27 September 2004

Labor’s HeadStart for Early Childhood Development

A Federal Labor Government will introduce a free day of care each week for all 3 and 4 year olds eligible for the Child Care Benefit.

Labor’s ambitious and comprehensive plan will ensure every Australian child has a head start in life.

A Federal Labor Government will offer generous support to Australian families because investing in our children is an investment in Australia’s future.

A Federal Labor Government will:

• Introduce a universal free day of care for each three and four year old eligible for Child Care Benefit - saving typical families over $20 a week in fees.

• Increase the number of Long Day Care places by 6,500

• Increase the number of Out Of School Hours places by 8000

• Boost assistance to the states to reduce pre school fees, expand pre school hours and fill gaps in early childhood development.

• Provide funding for 35 multifunction child resource centres

• Boost assistance to Family Day Care and Playgroups to promote early learning

• Boost parenting education and home visits for new parents

• Introduce a new adult literacy network and promote the importance of reading aloud to our infant children.

Labor’s HeadStart Plan recognises the financial pressure on families is always growing. Families are leading more complex lives and balancing work and family is becoming harder.

Labor’s HeadStart Plan will work for families to help them balance their work and family commitments, and to support their children’s early development.

In addition to the free day of care for 3 and 4 year olds, Labor’s plan will deliver 14,500 new child care places.

Labor will deliver 6,500 new long day care places by providing capital funding to assist community child care organisations to expand their services. Labor will add 8,000 Out Of School Hours places to assist working families with children at school.

Labor understands that the pressures on young families are not just financial. That is why a Federal Labor Government will give young families the parenting education and support they need including a guarantee that all families of new born babies will receive a minimum of three home visits following the birth of their child.

Only Labor will match the commitment and courage of young Australian families with the support and resources they need to deliver a head start to every Australian child.

GOSNELLS, WA. 27 SEPTEMBER 2004