A one size fits all childcare funding model continues to disadvantage families in rural and regional Australia. Independent Member for Indi, Cathy McGowan AO, said the growing number of young families living in small towns such as Chiltern, Barnawartha and the Indigo Valley need childcare in their community to allow parents to work.
“We need to ensure rural families are supported and have adequate access for their childcare needs,” Ms McGowan said. “This is an important basic service and without it, people are unable to work.”
A lack of local childcare options means families have no alternative but to travel to major centres for childcare. A more flexible childcare system is needed to match the working hours of families. “This has a huge impact and I will continue calling on the Government to clearly demonstrate how they will support families living in places such as Chiltern, and Barnawartha relying on mobile services,” Ms McGowan said. “If there is no childcare centre, there is no subsidy, and this places stress and pressure on families in towns across Indi.”
Ms McGowan has been critical of the new funding arrangements for childcare subsidies. Ms McGowan is pressuring the Government to guarantee funding for mobile childcare. “The new funding program fails to take into account families in rural and regional Australia who currently rely on mobile services,” Ms McGowan said. “Funding must be allocated on a needs basis.”
Ms McGowan joined about 15 mothers and service providers in Chiltern today to discuss issues around childcare delivery. Outcomes from the meeting included a submission to the Indigo Shire Council meeting next week, exploring greater opportunities for Family Day Care provision, and data collection to identify needs.
“In the next Parliament, I will continue lobbying for changes to the mobile childcare funding arrangements to get a better outcome for families in Indi,” Ms McGowan said.