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No spots for Melbourne kids shows need for reforms of child care funding: Greens

Media Release
Sarah Hanson-Young 16 Jul 2012

Greens research showing that over 90% of not-for-profit child care centres in the Melbourne electorate have no room for children under 3 years is a clear indication that the federal government should look at directly funding child care centres, the Australian Greens said today.

Senator Hanson-Young today visited a community child care coop in Flemington, Melbourne, where she heard first-hand about the importance of direct funding of services and the need for a permanent capital grants fund to be made available to centres to expand their capacity and increase vacancies.

"The government must give special consideration to the needs of the not-for-profit sector of childcare services and the contribution they offer to families across the country in the impending review", Greens' spokesperson for Early Childhood Education and Care", Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young said.

"Reforms like direct funding are especially critical for the not-for-profit sector, such as in Melbourne where there are long waiting lists for places in community centres because parents see value in putting profits back into the care of children".

"The Greens want these reforms to be considered by the government in its current review of child care funding because they represent some of the best ways to improve educating our youngest Australians," Greens' spokesperson for Early Childhood Education and Care, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said.

"The federal government ought to listen and act on advice from the childcare sector including union calls for direct funding, extra spending and higher wages.

"Research shows that a Certificate III qualified childcare worker gets paid $18 an hour, compared to cleaners who receive $20 an hour and labourers who receive $32 an hour. It's a huge problem that this disparity in wages is leading to dozens of childhood educators leaving the sector each week, according to Uniting Voice figures".

"In addition, a good way of providing high quality care, and preventing centres from hiking their fees up, is for a government-backed permanent capital grants fund which centres can access".

"This money would be available for centres to expand their facilities to cope with long waiting lists prevalent across much of Australia, and not pass those costs on to parents.

"Parents say time and again they need flexible options for their childcare. These steps would help stop highly qualified staff from leaving their essential roles, and also maintain the high quality and affordable care provided for busy parents, and we again call on the government to consider them."

MEDIA CONTACT: Kelly Farrow 0427604 760


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