Celebrating Children’s Week 2011 with record investments in the early years
- Minister for School Education
- Minister for Early Childhood and Youth
- Minister for Child Care
- Minister for Employment Participation
Minister for Early Childhood, Peter Garrett and Minister for Child Care, Kate Ellis welcomed the beginning of Children’s Week 2011 celebrations today.
Children’s Week is an annual national event, recognising the talents, skills, achievements and rights of children. A key part of the week is Universal Children’s Day on Wednesday 26 October, which celebrates childhood and promotes the welfare of children.
Every Australian child is entitled to the best possible start in life. Research shows that experiences in the first five years shape future life outcomes and the Gillard Labor Government is investing to make sure that future is bright for our youngest citizens.
The Gillard Labor Government is making a historic investment of more than $20 billion in early childhood education and care over the next four years. This is more than double the investment made during the last four years of the Howard Government.
The Australian Government is providing:
- $9.2 billion through the Child Care Benefit and $7.2 billion through the Child Care Rebate over four years to 2014-15 to help parents meet the costs of care;
- $970 million over five years to 2012-13 to support access to early education for every Australian child in the year before they start school;
- $47.2 million to improve access to and quality of early learning and care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children;
- $114.5 million to build 38 new early learning and care centres in parts of the country where parents struggle to find child care that meets their needs;
- $292.6 million to build and deliver 38 Children and Family Centres that will provide integrated services like child care, playgroup, family support, child and maternal health, in areas of disadvantage;
- Around $90 million a year under the Child Care Services Support Program to help new services start, assist with operational support and help services that are struggling; and
- $51.2 million over five years for the Australian Early Development Index, a world-first data snapshot of children’s development across the country, allowing us to target resources the families and communities who most need it.
The Gillard Labor Government believes that children deserve high quality early learning experiences, which provide a solid foundation for a life of learning.
Affordable and stable child care is also critical to help families balance work and life responsibilities. Australian parents need access to child care that suits the needs of their family, so they can participate in the labour force and contribute to the family budget.
Under the Liberal Party child care and early childhood education was neglected for twelve long years. There was no national leadership, no focus on early learning or the quality of child care provided, and parents received significantly less help with their child care costs.
While there is always more to do but with the Gillard Labor Government investing record levels of funding in early childhood education and care over the coming years, there is a lot to celebrate in Children’s Week 2011.
Further information on Government initiatives in the development and care of children is available at www.mychild.gov.au.
The National Children’s Week website is also at www.childrensweek.org.au.