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Thursday, 24 June 2010
Page: 6686

Ms MARINO (10:48 AM) —I rise to table a petition on behalf of Lisa Fuda of the Harvey Occasional Child Care Centre and the many families in south-western, wheat-belt and regional Western Australia who will be very badly affected by the Labor government’s decision to cease the funding the Neighbourhood Model Occasional Child Care Program from July this year. There were 1,704 signatures collected in just a few days in very small communities. Many thanks to everyone who helped achieve this.

The petition read as follows—

To the Honourable The Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives

This petition of certain citizens of Australia draws to the attention of the House the Federal Government’s decision to cease funding the Neighbourhood Model Occasional Childcare Program as at July 15th 2010. Ultimately this could mean the closure of 28 centres Western Australia wide, including Harvey and Binningup.

We therefore ask the House to reinstate the funding to the Neighbourhood Model Occasional Childcare Program that provides 52% of the funds required for operational costs to 28 childcare centres Western Australian wide.

from 1,704 citizens

Ms MARINO —This Rudd-Gillard Labor government decision will affect 28 centres in Western Australia, including those in Harvey and Binningup. In rural and regional areas, many centres simply do not have the numbers to sustain themselves on a full-time basis. This comes as a major blow to the many rural and regional centres which simply do not have the numbers to sustain themselves on a full-time basis.

Here we have groups of young mothers who do not simply sit back and expect a handout from government. They take responsibility for their community based centres. They fundraise. They manage their own centres and finances. They play a direct role in their children’s day care. But they cannot afford the increased fees caused by the loss of federal funding. Yet the government has withdrawn its 52 per cent funding share, a total of $420,000, from 28 centres in Western Australia, centres that have provided sustainable, affordable and necessary day care for many years. Lisa Fuda, the principal petitioner and Chairperson of the Harvey Occasional Child Care Centre Harvey said:

The closure of the Centre will affect many workplaces within Harvey, right now our services are retained by Teachers, Financial Assistants, Healthcare Professionals, Hairdressers, small business operators working from home, just to mention a few. The flow-on effects of the possible closure of this centre will more than likely be felt throughout the whole town on many different facets.

Other patrons utilise the service as a respite opportunity as they may not have the luxury of family support locally, some of these children include those with special needs which we cater for and have specially allocated resources and staff.

The funding cut will have dire effects on both of these centres in my electorate and on many communities in Western Australia. Unfortunately, this is another glaring example of how this Labor government has no understanding of, or willingness to understand, regional and rural communities and their day-to-day issues. But at the same time it is prepared to waste and mismanage billions and billions of taxpayers’ dollars in funds for things such as school buildings and the insulation program, whilst ripping away funding from occasional child care throughout Western Australia.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Hon. DS Vale)—Member for Forrest, the document that you have presented will be forwarded to the Petitions Committee for its consideration and will be accepted subject to confirmation by the committee that it conforms with standing orders.