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Thursday, 30 September 1971
Page: 1832

Mr Berinson (PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) asked the Minister for

Labour and National Service, upon notice:

(1)   What is the estimated annual saving as a result of the continued deferment of Commonwealth assistance for child-care centres.

(2)   Is the Government of the view that this saving represents a proper order of priorities.

(3)   If so, will he consider the introduction at an early date of a modified scheme to at least provide child-care assistance in the case of children of single-parent families.

Mr Lynch - The answer to the honour able member's question is as follows: (1), (2) and (3) It is not possible to make the estimate sought because no definite scheme has been finalised.

The Government announced its desire to introduce a scheme to assist with child-care centres in November last year against a background of concern that the care and welfare of the children of working parents should be adequately safeguarded and that such children should have every opportunity for the fullest development, intellectually, socially and physically.

The Government continues to hold this view, and continues to regard its intended initiative on child care as a most valuable and important one. However, as the honourable member is aware, ths economic situation has altered since the initiative was announced. It was because of its appreciation of the importance of restraining the inflationary, pressures which are currently evident in the community that the Government adopted a deliberate policy of curtailing Commonwealth expenditure and it was in the light of that policy that the decision was taken to defer any proposal on child care for the time being.

Child care assistance in the case of single parent families is part of the considerations underway with respect to the whole initiative.

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