Member for Western Victoria, Gayle Tierney MP has urged Surf Coast residents to sign a petition fighting for childcare funding along the Surf Coast.
Launching the petition in Anglesea, Ms Tierney met with Anglesea Community House manager, Alex Leknius to discuss the impacts the Baillieu Government’s decision to scrap the Take a Break program will have on Surf Coast families.
“There are many families who are very anxious and upset at the Baillieu Government’s decision to cut childcare funding, which will increase costs for families and decrease childcare services on the Surf Coast.
“This service allows parents to get to appointments and meetings, as well as activities including study and recreational classes, while their children socialise and interact with other children in an early learning environment.
“However this cut in funding will result in higher fees and possibly force the child care service to close altogether.
“I urge all residents and families to show their support for retaining this valuable community house service by signing the petition available at their local Community House,” Ms Tierney said.
Ms Tierney explained that there has been some confusion as to which level or government, Federal or State, provides funding for the Take a Break service.
“It is disappointing to see the Member for South Barwon, Andrew Katos trying to pass the buck on this issue and turn it into a political point scoring match.
“The facts are simple, last year the former Labor Government took over full funding for the program and provided $1.9 million, which allowed it to continue for another year.
“The Queensland, New South Wales, South Australian and Western Australian State Governments have all committed to on-going support for this service,
“Yet the Baillieu Government refuses to budge on this issue, claiming to support families but at the same time increasing costs and making it harder to access childcare services.
“Families simply want to see the Baillieu Government providing Victorian families with the services they need,” Ms Tierney
Childcare services provided by the Community Houses in in Anglesea, Deans Marsh, Lorne and Winchelsea are the only services in these communities.
The next closest service is Torquay which is currently full and therefore families would need to travel almost an hour to Geelong for childcare services if they did not exist in these townships.
Ms Tierney explained that the knock on effects of cutting back the number of days the service was provided meant that it would also be difficult for community houses to find childcare professionals.
“It is difficult to find childcare professionals willing to work 2 or 3 days a week with most families needing two full time incomes to survive”