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Bright future for child care in Queensland.



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Bright future for child care in Queensland

28/05/2004

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Larry Anthony, today said that the future for the child care industry in Queensland looked very bright - but only if current policies were allowed to continue.

Mr Anthony was on the Gold Coast to officially open the inaugural annual conference of ChildCare Queensland.

"The Australian Government is committed to continuing to work with the child care industry in Queensland to give families a range of child care options.

"Child care has undergone massive changes since the Coalition Government came to office in 1996 that has seen increased numbers of child care services, places and families using child care.

"Our focus has been on giving assistance directly to families. In 2002-03 alone, Queensland families benefited from Australian Government assistance of more than $416 million in Child Care Benefit payments - the largest amount of any State or Territory.

"Giving Queensland families more direct support has seen: The number of families using child care increase by 40 per cent - from 98,500 in 1996 to 125,500 in 2002.

● The number of children using child care increase by 43

per cent - from 127,600 in 1996 to 182,500 in 2002. ● The number of child care services increase by 29 per cent

- from 1,664 in 1996 to 2,143 in 2003. ● The number of child care places increase by 66 per cent -

from 75,592 in 1996 to 125,800 in 2003.

"However, there is a real threat to the future of the child care industry- and that is a Labor Government.

"The conference is the first time ChildCare Queensland has come together since forming in September last year. I congratulate them for providing a forum that gives the child care industry the opportunity to meet and discuss issues particular to Queensland," Mr Anthony said.