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Selective hearing on child care places.



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Hon. Larry Anthony, MP Minister for Children and Youth Affairs

21 November 2002 SELECTIVE HEARING ON CHILD CARE PLACES

In typical fashion, Labor has selectively listened to what the Department of Family and Community Services said today in Senate Estimates Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Larry Anthony said.

"The Coalition Government has an outstanding record on Outside School Hours Care. We have dramatically increased the number of Outside School Hours Care places by a massive 221 per cent.

"When we were elected in 1996 there were 72,000 places and there are now 230,000. The number of services has also increased from 3,055 to 5,407. Our commitment to providing this type of child care is self evident.

"The Coalition Government's policies has made child care more affordable - a fact acknowledged by Robyn Munro-Miller from National Association for Outside School Hours Care.

"If Labor had cared to listen in Senate Estimates today, they would have also heard that there are currently 10,000 Outside School Hours Care places not being fully utilised. The Department has been asking Outside School Hours Care providers to hand back places they are not using so we can distribute them to areas of high need.

"This process has been happening for about three months and we redistributed more than 1,600 places in time for the last school holidays. We hope to redistribute at least this number of places again before the end of the year.

"One fact the Labor likes to skim over is that no State Government has moved to regulate Outside School Hours Care, except for initial steps currently being taken in Queensland. It is a State Government responsibility to regulate basic safety, facility and staff to child ratio requirements. We are committed to providing quality child care and believe that taxpayers dollars should be targetted towards quality.

"If Ms Roxon was truly concerned about Outside School Hours Care, she would lobby her State Labor colleagues and have them move towards regulating the sector.

"The Coalition Government has an outstanding record on providing families a diverse range of child care options and will continue to do so," Mr Anthony said.

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