Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, has welcomed the State Government’s commitment to permanently restore its share of the Take a Break (TAB) occasional Childcare program funding if the Federal Government reverses its 2010 decision to withdraw its contribution.
Mr Bull said childcare funding was primarily a Federal responsibility.
“The Take a Break program was an example of the State working co-operatively with the Commonwealth to deliver a service to families and was originally funded on a 70 percent Commonwealth, 30 percent State basis.
“However, in its May 2010 Budget, the Federal Labor scrapped funding for the TAB program, which meant services were due to cease on 30 June, 2010.
“As this did not allow enough time for services or families to adjust, the then Victorian Government agreed to fund the Federal share for one year until 30 June 2011. This was a one-off commitment and the former government made it clear that the funding was for one year only.
“Upon its election, the Baillieu Government formally requested the Gillard Labor Government to reinstate funding, as the program could not be sustained on State funding alone on an ongoing basis.
“Unfortunately the Federal Minister failed to respond to Victoria’s request, and the 2011-12 Federal Budget failed to reinstate the program.
This has a significant impact on a number of childcare facilities in East Gippsland. I have had strong representation from the Tambo Valley and Paynesville in particular.
“To give some certainty, this State Government agreed to extend TAB funding until the end of this calendar year. It has now laid the offer on the table of contributing its original 30 percent share if the Federal Government meets its commitment.
“However, the State cannot be expected to take over the Federal Government’s funding responsibility on an ongoing basis when it is primarily their responsibility.
“I know my Federal colleague Darren Chester has raised this continually and will keep the pressure on the Gillard Government to reinstate this funding.
“I encourage all those families and communities affected by the changes to this occasional childcare program to raise their concerns directly with the Gillard Labor government and to return its funding to this childcare program,” Mr Bull said.