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Childcare must be high on mayors' summit agenda.

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Monday 17 November 2008

Childcare must be high on mayors’ summit agenda

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young is urging the Federal Government to ensure that the issue of childcare is high on the agenda at this week’s Australian Council of Local Governments, given the uncertainty in the childcare sector following the collapse of ABC Learning.

More than 500 mayors will meet with key ministers in Canberra this week. The Australian Services Union has already written to Education Minister Julia Gillard to ask for support for local government to take over some of the ABC Learning childcare centres.

“This summit of local governments is a golden opportunity for the Federal Government and councils to work together on fixing this country’s childcare woes,” said Senator Hanson-Young.

“Local government already provides a portion of Australia’s high-quality, not-for-profit childcare, as well as maternal and child health services.

“With the right support from their federal counterpart, local governments could play a crucial role in transforming Australian childcare services away from the unstable, profit-driven industry it unfortunately has become.

“The early education and care of our youngest children needs to be accessible, affordable, sustainable and of high quality - and local government is a natural fit for delivering this model of childcare.

“The Federal Government has still not indicated what will happen to the 100,000 long daycare places currently held by ABC Learning Centres after December 31, when its $22 million prop-up expires.

“To the Greens, it seems obvious that a constructive partnership between the Federal Government and local councils on the matter of childcare would be a mutually beneficial arrangement.”

Media contact: Gemma Clark on 0427 604 760