darren.chester.mp@aph.gov.au 1300 131 785
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September 3, 2012

Occasional childcare places will be restored in Heyfield, Maffra, Yarram, Paynesville Swifts Creek and Mallacoota after a long-running community campaign.

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester, who supported the affected communities in their campaign to have services restored, said the commitment by the Gillard Government is long-overdue.

The communities lost occasional childcare when the ‘Take a Break’ program, a joint funding agreement between the Federal and State Governments, ceased last year.

A 70-30 arrangement was in place until the Gillard Government withdrew its 70 per cent component at the 2010/11 Budget. The Victorian Government picked up the tab and agreed to fund the program until December 31, 2011.

Despite the community campaign, and the State Government committing to fund its 30 per cent component, the Federal Government refused to reinstate its share of the funding and continue the program.

Mr Chester said the Federal Minister have committed to an additional allocation of occasional care places through Uniting Care in Maffra, Yarram and Mallacoota as well as through the Heyfield Community Resource Centre, Paynesville Neighbourhood Centre and Swifts Creek Community Centre.

“This will be welcome news to many local families but the fact that it has taken over 12 months to fix this problem highlights the inefficiency of the Gillard Government,” Mr Chester said.

“It’s a testament to the families and staff involved with local neighbourhood and community centres that we have been able to pressure the government into allocating places lost when the Take a Break program ceased.”

300 occasional care places have been allocated across Australia with further places to be allocated in the near future.

Mr Chester said he would continue to advocate on behalf of families in other Gippsland communities for improved childcare services.

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