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Rudd Government: a growing disappointment to parents.



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Rudd Government: A growing disappointment to parents 09/06/10

The list of let downs for parents announced by the Rudd Government is growing, according to Sharman Stone, Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education and Child Care.

“In the lead up to the 2007 election Mr Rudd committed to high quality, affordable child care and universal access to early childhood education,” Dr Stone said. “Since then, Australian parents have been handed policies that have reduced the government’s financial assistance for child care and increased the costs for both child care and early childhood education. First there was the commitment to 260 new child care centres. This promise was withdrawn in April this year.

“Then in the recent budget there was a raft of supposed savings announced. These included a reduction of the Child Care Rebate cap by $278 per year for the next four years. This is at a time when the new National Quality Agenda is expected to push up fees by up to $22 per day and reduce the number of child care places.

“Rural child care centres that operate on a part-time basis are under threat when Minister Ellis only guarantees 6 months accreditation, making it virtually impossible to employ staff or start new services.

“Choices for parents looking for child care services will be reduced with the removal of the government’s start-up funding for Family Day Care and Remote Area Day Care. Fewer women will be able to start this home-based service without the grant.

“The Federal Government has also cut their share of the funding to Occasional Care. These are essential services for parents wanting emergency child care or access to a play group.

“The final straw was the advice that the very popular Active After-school Communities program will cease to operate from the end of this year. This activities program operates in 3250 locations servicing 150,000 children under 13 years of age.

“The Government has done nothing to help with regulating nannies, often employed on the black market because parents have no other reasonable options.

“Finally Labor’s Paid Parental Leave is so inadequate that they will be relying on businesses to prop up the pay, leave and superannuation components,” Dr Stone Stone said.