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Childhood Service- On-going support for existing approved projects

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Press Statement 6 December 1974

Childhood Services - On-Going Support for Existing Approved Projects

The Australian Government has decided to continue on-going recurrent assistance for existing pre-schools and other projects approved under the 1973/74 Interim Pre-School and Child Care Services Program on the same lines as before, Mr Bowen said

in a Ministerial Statement which he tabled in the House of Representatives last night. He went on to say that consideration is being given to further extending these payments to the end of the 1975 calendar year.

The Premiers have been informed of the estimated level of funds they might expect as a result of the decision. Mr Bowen said he had approved payments to the States for the purpose for the period 1 July 1974 to 31 March 1975 as follows:—

$ million

New South Wales - 2.475

Victoria - 3.000

Queensland - 0.450

South Australia - 1.050

Western Australia - 0.975 Tasmania - 0.300

Mr Bowen stressed that this decision to continue this recurrent assistance is contingent on a thorough review of existing approved projects and services to establish their compatibility with the Australian Government's philosophy for the provision of

a comprehensive range of childhood services and so devise a suitable basis for the future funding of those services which qualify. He continued that it should be clear from this that all the services being funded now under the old Interim Program will not continue automatically to be eligible for Australian

Government assistance beyond June or December 1975. He expected, however, that any services so affected will be encouraged to provide more diversified and integrated services that accord with the needs principle which is central to the Australian Government's policy.

Mr Bowen said there was also concern that the rates for recurrent assistance provided under the Child Care Act were outdated because of increases in costs. As a recognition of that fact it had been decided to amend the regulations under the Act to provide the following increased rates:—

(a) 75% of award salary for staff eligible for subsidy (at present 50%)

(b) Up to $1 per hour of attendance for special need children under 3 years (at present up to 25 cents)

(c) Up to 60 cents per hour of attendance for special need children 3 years of age and over (at present up to 15 cents)

Payments under the Child Care Act are made direct to eligible organisations including local government authorities and community groups. The new rates will apply from 1 January 1975.