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Child care cap to be scrapped [AU]

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Denholm, Matthew
Publication Date: 
30 Sep 2003

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Thousands more parents might get access to scarce child care places, after the Federal Government promised yesterday to abolish its cap on child care.

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Larry Anthony said yesterday he was confident the cap would be axed by the end of the year.

That would allow new services to expand or set up, creating thousands of places in time for next year.

The cap prevents the expansion of family day care and outside school hours care, including vacation care.

It has been kept in place to artificially limit the number of providers and thus keep a lid on the cost of Child Care Benefit.

But with a critical shortage of child care places nationwide, Mr Anthony said he now accepted the cap should go - and soon.

This would allow for new places to be available for when school goes back in February and to give certainty to families planning for next year.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates almost half (1,510,500) of all Australian children are in child care.

And the proportion attending both long day care and before and/or after school care has increased steadily since 1993.

Mr Anthony conceded axing the cap on places would increase the cost of the Child Care Benefit scheme available to parents using all accredited child care.

Child care providers yesterday said abolition of the cap on places was overdue and would have immediate benefit for parents.

Jo Comans, of the National Family Day Care Council, said axing the cap - if matched by operational funding - would allow new services to set up in areas of need.

Chirnside Park mum and business owner Genevieve Kutey welcomed the news.

She said her two-year-old twin sons had been on a child care waiting list for months, forcing her to turn to friends for help.

- reprinted from Herald Sun