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Supporting rural child care.



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Minister for Children and Youth Affairs

Media Release

Supporting rural child care

18/06/2004

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Larry Anthony, today outlined the Australian Government's excellent track record in providing child care options for families in rural areas of Australia.

Mr Anthony addressed the Country Children's Services Association forum in Mudgee on early childhood services across country New South Wales.

"The Australian Government continues to provide new and innovative child care options for families, especially those living outside capital cities.

"For example, the recent Budget committed an extra $16.3 million to establish up to 13 new services to help rural and remote families access high quality and affordable child care, in many cases for the first time. This builds on the 30 flexible child care services already established around Australia.

"Another key option available to rural and regional families is in-home care which is very popular. Since it was introduced in 2000 the Australian Government has approved about 3,700 places with almost a third of these in New South Wales.

"The Australian Government helps over 540,000 families who receive Child Care Benefit with the costs of caring for children - in New South Wales alone in the last financial year the Government spent almost $400 million on Child Care Benefit.

"The Child Care Support Program (formerly the Child Care Broadband) has been increased by $25 million to $226 million which will provide added benefits for families living in rural areas.

"Further options the Australian Government has funded include an extra 40,000 Outside School Hours Care places for new and existing services and an increase of 4,000 Family Day Care places.

"This forum at Mudgee, run by the Country Children's Services Association is a great opportunity to discuss the challenges faced in delivering quality, affordable and flexible children's services to rural and regional areas.

"It is also a timely reminder that all those involved in the care of children should continue to work together to help all families meet the costs of raising our children," Mr Anthony said.