darren.chester.mp@aph.gov.au 1300 131 785
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November 21, 2012

An inquiry would investigate the childcare needs of rural and regional parents if the Coalition is elected according to The Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester.

Mr Chester has welcomed the announcement by the Coalition that a proposed Productivity Commission inquiry would focus on making sure that childcare was more accessible, affordable and flexible for parents.

He said the terms of reference for the inquiry included consideration of ‘the particular needs of rural, regional or remote parents’.

“There are a number of communities in Gippsland where families still struggle to obtain a reliable and regular childcare service,” Mr Chester said.

“The lack of services impacts on the community in terms of attracting and retaining professional people.

“Without suitable childcare services, it’s virtually impossible for families to remain in the region if both partners want to undertake some form of paid work outside the home.

“For every family that leaves our region, we not only lose the skills and capabilities of two working adults but also their contribution to the local economy.”

The proposed Terms of Reference for the Coalition’s Productivity Commission inquiry into childcare also includes consideration of:

* the current hours parents work or study, or wish to study;
* the particular needs of shift workers;
* the out of pocket costs of child care to families;
* rebate and subsidies available for each type of rebate; and
* the needs of vulnerable or at risk children.

Mr Chester said the Coalition was focused on providing a more accessible and more affordable system for families when it came to childcare.

“The Coalition wants families to have more choices when it comes to childcare decisions,” Mr Chester said.

“The proposed inquiry will identify how we can improve the current system to make it more responsive to the individual needs of families.”

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