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Greens deliver real support for families, childcare sector.



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Sarah Hanson-Young Australian Greens

Greens Deliver Real Support For Families, Childcare Sector

Media Release | Spokesperson Sarah Hanson-Young

Friday 23rd July 2010, 1:35pm

The Australian Greens will give real support to families and the community and not-for-profit

childcare operators who provide the care they rely on, according to Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

Senator Hanson-Young, Greens spokesperson on Early Childhood Education, says the

Greens have developed a series of initiatives to help deliver a better service that values

children and provides support to families.

"The Greens understand education does not start in primary school but in the earliest years

of life, so the provision of quality, affordable accessible care is a necessity,'' Senator

Hanson-Young said.

"We place a high value on primary and secondary education in this country because we

think it is important for children of that age - and we should be investing the same value on

early childhood education and care (ECEC).

"It was a Greens amendment to pay the childcare rebate fortnightly that the Federal

Government now claims as its own - this is an example of the Greens generating better

outcomes for the community.

"The Federal Government has painted a rosy picture of the levels of available childcare, but

the reality is very different. We know that is a challenge for families to get the quality

childcare they need, at a rate they can afford, when they need it - that's why we have

developed a plan to deal with this critical issue.''

The Greens policy would:

* Support nationally consistent ECEC standards with more highly qualified staff and lower

carer-to-child ratios of at least 1:3 for children aged 0-2, and 1:4 for children aged over two

and smaller groups

* Support a Productivity Commission inquiry to look into the payment of services to work out

the most cost-effective method of service delivery

* Establish a Capital Grants Fund of $200 million over four years ($50 million per year) to

allow individual community centres to apply with quotes for capital grants work to build

infrastructure

* Establish a Co-op Childcare Fund to provide $10m in grants for local, small and medium

businesses to collectively establish childcare facilities for their employees. This fund could

see up to 100 new centres established for around 1500 children

* Fight for more publicly funded, community-based and not-for-profit child care facilities,

especially in areas of high unmet demand or growth and areas of high socio-economic need.

The new National Quality Framework on ECEC must guarantee a place for all children under

3 by 2012

* Ensure fortnightly payments of the childcare rebate commence as soon as possible

"These initiatives are practical, commonsense ideas that will boost confidence in the system,

provide real support for families and start our children on a path of education that runs all the

way to university and beyond,'' Senator Hanson-Young said.