“KIDS are the victims of a silly stand-off between government ministers…Country children are the innocent victims of an absurd political stand-off between Victorian Coalition Minister for Children Wendy Lovell and her federal Labor counterpart Kate Ellis.” Peter Hunt, The Weekly Times
These ministers are disputing who should fund around $1.9 million pa for Take-A-Break occasional childcare (OCC) in Victoria.
The access of 9000 Victorian children to 220 occasional childcare centres, including 99 in regional areas.
Occasional childcare enables children – often from isolated areas – to start the all-important socialising process, and it gives parents the opportunity to study, attend appointments, share often dangerous farmwork, and sometimes simply ‘take a break’ when family support is not available. For some OCC acts as a three year-old Kinder.
The Federal Government cut funding to the service in its 2010 Budget. At the time, the NSW, Queensland, South Australian, West Australian and former Victorian State Governments took over the funding and all bar Victoria continue to do so.
Minister Wendy Lovell has told childcare providers the Victorian Government would return to its funding, but only if the Federal Minister Kate Ellis agreed to fund the remainder. Kate Ellis’ reply is that they have already given $210 million – though I hear from country mothers that this is tied to training and not to ‘little bums on seats’.
Tatura farmer and rally organiser Catherine Dooley says:
“It’s such a tiny amount of money…It’s absolutely ridiculous. This is about mothers’ sanity, having a break and the (childcare) workers who are part of our extended family.”
COUNTRY mothers, children and childcare workers rallied on the steps of the Victorian Parliament 18 August but there has been no response from Premier Ted Baillieu.
In a ‘very tight budget’, the Victorian Premier has allocated the following:
1. Are retired greyhounds, design competitions and jumps racing prizes more important than our kids’ futures?
2. Why is the federal $210 million Kinder funding restricted to upgrading training when it seems some of those it’s destined to help will be excluded?
This SHOULD be a matter of basic COMMUNICATION about the common good!!!