MEMBER for New England Barnaby Joyce says a recent national meeting of mobile child care services – the first in almost 15 years – will lead to better support for families in regional, rural, remote and disadvantaged communities in the New England.
Mr Joyce said about 80 representatives from mobile child care services across Australia gathered in Melbourne last month for a ‘Mobile Muster’ supported by the Abbott Government.
Mr Joyce said enabling the New England’s mobile services to get together and share their experiences and ideas with operators from other regions was part of the Government’s commitment to delivering higher-quality child care in the regions.
“The reality of life on the road means many mobile child care services don’t always have access to the everyday services and support available in major cities,” Mr Joyce said.
“A normal week might see some mobile services travel 300 kilometres in a day to deliver care and education from a local park.
“This obviously poses unique challenges and doesn’t leave a lot of time for training staff or researching the latest best-practices.
Mr Joyce said mobile child care services supporting electorate families included Gubi Gabun Children’s Mobile Service and Paroo Contact Children’s Mobile Service.
Mr Joyce said the Abbott Government recently committed $13.4 million over the next year to continue mobile service operations, including just over $2 million helping upgrade vehicles, educational resources and the professional development of educators.
Assistant Minister for Education Sussan Ley, who convened the Mobile Muster, said it was a positive experience that would have flow on benefits for families in the bush.
“As a regional MP myself, I understand the importance of high-quality child care to families in the bush and these mobile services do a fantastic job delivering that,” Ms Ley said.
“It was great to get a first-hand insight into the challenges and needs of mobile child care services and how the unique role they perform could fit in with the National Quality Framework, which is currently under review*.
“When it comes to tackling the challenge of delivering and improving services to regional areas, the Abbott Government absolutely gets it,” Ms Ley said.
Mobile services are part of the Government’s Budget Based Funded (BBF) Programme, an initiative which focuses on providing child care options responsive to the needs of modern Australian families, particularly in remote and rural areas.
*The 2014 NQF Review is assessing the extent to which the objectives and outcomes of the National Partnership Agreement on the National Quality Agenda for Early Childhood Education and Care have been achieved.
Details here http://www.woolcott.com.au/NQFreview/NQFreview.html