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Occasional Care Struggles for Funds


21 June 2011 at 12:44 pm
Staff Reporter
The Gillard Government has called on the Victorian Government to reconsider its decision not to continue funding a community based, occasional child care program called Take a Break, beyond the end of this year.


Staff Reporter | 21 June 2011 at 12:44 pm


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Occasional Care Struggles for Funds
21 June 2011 at 12:44 pm

The Gillard Government has called on the Victorian Government to reconsider its decision not to continue funding a community based, occasional child care program called Take a Break, beyond the end of this year.

The Federal Minister for Employment Participation and Child Care, Kate Ellis called on the Victorian Government to follow the lead of others states and commit to ongoing funding for neighbourhood model occasional care.

Both the Federal and State Governments have been hand-balling responsibility for ongoing funding of the program since last year.

Originally a State and Federally funded program the Federal government withdrew its 70 per cent of funding last year and the Liberal Victorian government has only provided funded until the end of the year.

The Baillieu Government has scrapped the childcare program as part of its massive budget cuts across the education sector, according to the Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader on Children and Young Adults in Victoria, Jenny Mikakos.

Appearing before a recent Parliamentary Accounts and Estimates Committee hearing, Victorian Minister for Children and Early Childhood Development Wendy Lovell confirmed the Take a Break Occasional Child Care program would be scrapped by the end of the year.

Association of Neighbourhood Houses and Learning Centres executive officer, Angela Savage says the $1 million funding for the Take a Break Occasional Child Care program is a small cost and high impact program.

Federal Minister Ellis says the Australian Government has massively increased funding to early childhood education and care, providing over $20 billion over the next four years – well over double what the former federal provided.

She says as part of this investment, the Government is driving a national reform process that will see areas that were previously funded solely by State and Territory governments receiving significant additional investment from the Commonwealth.

She says the Gillard Government has ceased funding for neighbourhood model occasional care, which represented an investment of $1.1 million in Victoria in 2009-10.

She says although now forgoing this, the Victorian Government is receiving approximately $210.6 million for kindergartens over the next 5 years – an area where the Commonwealth previously had no funding responsibility.

As well she says it is also providing funding for an unlimited number of child care places in Victoria in long day care, family day care and outside school hours care to enable existing child care services to expand and new services to be created.

Ellis says the previous Victorian Government acknowledged this significant overall increase in funding from the Commonwealth and committed to a review and extension of their funding for the Take a Break program.

The Take a Break Occasional Child Care program is provided at more than 220 neighbourhood houses and community centres across Victoria. 

*Image credit:  Flickr Image – Some rights reserved by Susan NYC



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One comment

  • Vicky W Vicky W says:

    There are hundreds of families across Victoria who rely on these services on a daily basis. I have people advising me they are getting no where with local and federal representatives who keep passing blame back and forth on who is responsible in funding these centres.

    If you would like to show your support we have an online petition available at http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/reinstate-funding-for-occasional-care.html or if you would like more information please look at http://www.facebook.com/SaveTakeABreak

    These centres offer a fantastic alternative to full time childcare which does not suit the needs of all families or is simply not available to some families in rural areas. It is a more hands on form of childcare with some centres requiring parents to volunteer on a regular basis and assist with maintenace and fundraising. It brings communities together and the support found goes beyond the limited hours most of these centres are open.

    The centre my son attends in Chelsea has been running over thirty years and has is now being enjoyed by its’ second generation of children, it has been staffed by one employee for over thirty years and as parents we think they are worth saving for the benefit of future families.

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