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Howard sits on childcare for election bribe.

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Joint Press Statement

Wayne Swan - Shadow Minister for Family and Community Services Jacinta Collins - Shadow Minister for Children and Youth HOWARD SITS ON CHILDCARE FOR ELECTION BRIBE The Howard Government has decided to sit on ‘critically’ needed childcare places making families wait until closer to the election new leaked cabinet documents reveal. A cabinet submission from Minister for Children and Youth, Larry Anthony, reveals the Howard Government made a decision to release in December last year only 25% of the 40,000 places ‘urgently’ needed by families. Despite taking to Cabinet a proposal to uncap Out of School Hours Care (OSHC) and Family Day Care (FDC) which would have relieved the 40,000 place shortage, Larry Anthony was told to release just 12,500 places. The Cabinet decision means families will have to wait until closer to the election to have the remaining 25,000 place shortage addressed. The leaked submission shows the childcare crisis for families comes second place to the Howard Government’s desire to gain maximum mileage from the announcement in the run up to the election. Opportunistically sitting on the additional places for electoral reasons shows a callous disregard for the daily struggle parents face juggling work and family commitments. In the case of Out of School Hours Care the shortfall has been there for three years. For three years, working parents of school age children have had to patch together after school care because this government did not have to face an election. Today at its early childhood announcement, the Howard Government will claim it is committed to children but its failure to fund adequate childcare places has left tens of thousands of children at risk of becoming latchkey kids. The Howard Government sees families as political pawns rather than the key to our nation’s future. This leaked Cabinet Submission shows the Howard Government is once again up to its old tricks - for families, come the election, it will be a case of once bitten twice shy. ENDS Wed 07Apr 04 Contact: Matt Linden on 0407 430 613 Lizzie Bladthorn 0407 689 244