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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 17 September 2015) . . Page.. 3174 ..

modern standards. This investment has created an extra 235 places for children under preschool age.

The ACT continues to have a high number of children participating in early childhood education and care centres. We owe it to these children, their families and the community as a whole to provide them with opportunities that maximise their potential and develop a foundation for future success.

The government signed up to the national quality framework in 2009 and we remain committed to it today. These historic reforms set a new benchmark for quality education and care in Australia and we are starting to realise the benefits. While we have done much to ensure quality, accessibility and affordability, much of it relies on the funding that comes through the Australian federal government. I hope our new Prime Minister can provide certainty for families in our community. I hope to hear that these inconsistencies to their approach to child care will be removed and that they recommit to supporting family day care and the thousands of families who use it each and every day. For our part, the government will continue to do all we can to support Canberra families and support the sector that provides such high quality care to our little ones.

MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (11.19): I would like to make a few comments relating to family day care and child care generally. I will start by thanking Ms Burch for bringing this motion to the Assembly today. Family day care provides an important service to everyday Canberra families. In fact, I recall a number of my own children attending family day care and long day care in my younger days. I also acknowledge the importance of lifelong learning and the importance of quality, affordable and available child care.

I want to bring to the Assembly’s attention the funding provided by the federal government. Mr Shorten has claimed that the federal government had cut around $1 billion from childcare funding. Clearly this is over-reach; it ignores some funding that has been reallocated to other childcare services. Also, it does not include areas where overall spending is increasing and it does not take into account those areas where funding was due to expire and were never given extended funding.

Since 1 July 2011 the federal government has funded more than $1.044 billion over three years for the family support program. The program provides services across Australia to support families, improve children’s wellbeing and safety, and build more resilient communities. It is through the community support program that funding is provided to approved family day care services. What is happening here is that the eligibility criteria are being tightened for providers who care for children in their own home, and Ms Burch has described some of those changes.

Support provided to approved family day care services in the ACT under the federal government’s community support program includes set-up assistance, sustainability assistance, operational support and regional travel assistance. The federal government also announced things like the nanny pilot program, part of its $40 billion investment in childcare support over the next four years, which includes an additional $3.5 billion for the federal government’s jobs for families childcare package.

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