TUESDAY, 26 AUGUST 2014
Labor welcomes the Abbott Government’s latest backflip on the importance of planning in opening up child care places.
The report Guideline for the Planning and Development of Child Care Facilities, released today yet dated September 2013, was commissioned by the previous government to help local government remove barriers to increasing child care places.
“Labor recognises what a massive issue child care accessibility is and that too many families face crippling waiting lists,” Shadow Minister for Early Childhood, Kate Ellis said.
Ms Ellis said that when the report was commissioned, the Assistant Minister for Education immediately and comprehensively dismissed it as “… a couple of initiatives for local council, as if they cannot work out their own planning issues themselves” (Sussan Ley, 11 September 2012).
“The Assistant Minister has clearly been confused in how to approach this report – first criticising, then sitting on it and now hailing the importance of it.
“It is another example of the chaotic and inconsistent approach to the sector that this Government takes.
“If the Government wants to address waiting lists, rather than just releasing reports, it should stop cutting record-breaking amounts of vital child care assistance.
“Despite promises before the election, all the Government has done is cut $1 billion out of child care assistance for Australian families.
“Instead of making child care more affordable and available as it promised, the Abbott Government axed the $5 million Child Care Accessibility Fund which was set up to help local government create more child care places, even though 51 local governments applied for funding.
“This is just another example of this Assistant Minister making it up as she goes along rather than recognising the importance of the early childhood sector.”
Kate Ellis thanked Associate Professor Roberta Ryan, Director of the Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government at the University of Technology Sydney for her important contribution to public policy in this area.