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Greens offer support to Gillard to hold childcare summit.

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Wednesday 12 November 2008

Greens offer support to Gillard to hold childcare summit

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young hopes to meet with Education Minister Julia Gillard for a briefing on the Government’s contingency plan for dealing with the ABC Learning crisis, and to offer her support in holding an emergency summit on

childcare in Australia.

The Federal Government is yet to reveal details of its contingency plan for ABC Learning beyond contributing $22 million to keep ABC centres open until December 31.

“I have contacted Minister Gillard’s office and hope to speak to her soon about the Government’s contingency plan,” said Senator Hanson-Young.

“Like many Australians, the Greens are concerned about the future of 100,000 or more childcare places currently held by ABC Learning.

“We’ve seen the Australian Government advertisements promoting its $22 million prop-up in newspapers today, yet parents, childcare workers and parliamentarians alike are still unsure as to what the Government will do about ABC Learning Centres come New Year’s Eve.”

Senator Hanson-Young said she intended to speak to the Minister about a Capital Grants Fund scheme to assist community-based, not-for-profit organisations in purchasing centres currently owned by ABC Learning.

“The Greens believe the idea of a Capital Grants Fund has merit, as it could enable some of the struggling ABC centres to shift to a viable, community-based, not-for-profit operation.”

Senator Hanson-Young also wanted to discuss an emergency childcare summit, proposed by the Greens, that the Senate supported yesterday.

“The Senate have supported my call on the Government to hold an emergency summit on childcare in Australia, comprising the key organisations and experts in the childcare sector, and I now offer my support to the Minister in pulling it together.

“It’s an important step forward in reshaping the way we think about childcare in Australia, and transforming the sector to a more stable, sustainable model.”

Media contact: Gemma Clark on 0427 604 760