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Federal Labor takes national child care campaign to Gladstone.



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Media Release Jenny Macklin MP Chris Trevor Shadow Minister for Families Federal Labor Candidate and Community Services for Flynn

Federal Member for Jagajaga

FEDERAL LABOR TAKES NATIONAL CHILD CARE CAMPAIGN TO GLADSTONE

Jenny Macklin and Chris Trevor, Federal Labor Candidate for Flynn, visited Stepping Stones Child Care Centre in Gladstone today to announce Federal Labor’s plans to make child care more affordable and available for families in the electorate of Flynn.

In a landmark economic speech at the prestigious Sydney Institute last night, Kevin Rudd kicked off Federal Labor’s plan to establish an Office of Work and Family within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Our plan is to help reduce financial pressures on Australian families - such as housing affordability, the rising cost of groceries, petrol and child care.

Stepping Stones Centre’s Director, Heather Curran, told Ms Macklin and Mr Trevor, that middle income families at the centre are the hardest hit by lack of government help for child care.

With both parents working and a child in full-time care, parents at Stepping Stones can be left out of pocket by over $200 a week.**

Stepping Stones also has a growing waiting list - with 156 families at last count, and at least 4-5 phone calls from parents looking for a place every day.

Ms Macklin announced, “Federal Labor has a $450 million Early Childhood Education Plan to put downward pressure on costs and boost the quality of care by giving every four-year-old the right to 15 hours of early childhood learning per week.

“Stepping Stones does a great job providing some early learning programs for four-year olds. Federal Labor wants to help get a qualified teacher there to give children the best start to life.”

Mr Trevor said, “Gladstone families were under pressure from mortgage payments, petrol prices, grocery bills - and child care costs.

“Federal Labor has announced that we will help reduce the costs of child care by building 260 new childcare centres in areas of real need. This investment would be worth up to $200 million.”

Ms Macklin added, “Child care costs have doubled on Mr Howard’s watch - with costs going up by over 12 per cent every year for the last four years.

“Mothers have to weigh up whether it’s worth their while going back to work because of the high cost of child care. But Mr Howard recently said Australian families ‘have never been better off’.

Mr Trevor said, “The Howard Government has denied that there is a child care crisis, instead blaming parents for being too choosy.

Ms Macklin concluded, “I am concerned that after 11 years in power, Mr Howard has grown out of touch with families.”

**The centre’s weekly fee for children under three years is $230 per week. Out of pocket costs were estimated by Stepping Stones after the Child Care Benefit subsidy was provided to a family.

More info: Moksha Watts 0409 774 266 19 July

2007