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April 23, 2010

Gippsland families in need of childcare services have been let down by a Rudd Labor Government decision to abandon its election promise to build 260 childcare centres across Australia.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester has expressed his disappointment over the decision which has the potential to severely reduce the future availability of funding for new childcare services.

Mr Chester said the decision to abandon an election promise to build more childcare centres would be a major blow for small communities across Gippsland.

“Families in smaller towns across Gippsland which have been working towards securing childcare services in the future have been let down by another of the Labor Party’s broken promises,” Mr Chester said.

“Why must small regional communities suffer because the Prime Minister cannot deliver on election promises?

“The Prime Minister has been peddling false hopes to the community with his promise to build 260 more childcare centres across Australia. Regional communities have been short-changed again.”

Mr Chester said the State Parliamentary inquiry this week into Regional and Rural Disadvantage heard from several witnesses that the availability of childcare in Gippsland was a major cause of concern.

“The lack of childcare services in many smaller towns is a constant source of concern because it makes it more difficult to attract professional people and mothers returning to work are often forced to juggle their family arrangements,” Mr Chester said.

“It is ridiculous for the Minister to claim there are enough childcare places around Australia when we have many smaller towns which are still struggling to establish a service.

“Families in regional areas such as Gippsland deserve better than broken promises when it comes to key community issues such as childcare services.

“The Rudd Government should be working with care providers in regional areas to deliver more flexible services and make sure that country families aren’t disadvantaged.”

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