Statement on the State Liberal Government's decision to cease funding the Take a Break program

It is a great shame that the Victorian Government has chosen not to continue the funding of the Take a Break Program. I understand that Longbeach Place and Chelsea Heights Community Centre will close as a consequence of this decision, and that Chelsea Occasional Care while still taking enrolments is exploring options for private sponsorship due to the State's refusal to fund Take a Break.

It is a great shame that the Victorian Government has chosen not to continue the funding of the Take a Break Program. I understand that Longbeach Place and Chelsea Heights Community Centre will close as a consequence of this decision, and that Chelsea Occasional Care while still taking enrolments is exploring options for private sponsorship due to the State's refusal to fund Take a Break.

As a consequence of heat from local councils regarding the Victorian Government's decision to slash library funding, Ted Baillieu caved in and returned funding to this service. He has not given the same consideration to Take a Break, walking away from the needs of families, in much the same way as he has with the Kids - Go For Your Life program which he has refused to fund from July 1 this year. This program is the most recent victim of the Baillieu Government's $960 million cut to Victoria's education, early childhood and health sectors.

While the Victorian Government might like to blame the Federal Government for the closure of Take a Break centres, they conveniently forget that New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia continue to support these types of child care services, as did the previous Brumby Labor Government.

Mr Baillieu also chooses to forget that under the Federal Labor Government, families have access to more financial assistance with child care and more choice than they have ever had before. For instance - our decision to lift the Child Care Rebate from 30 to 50 per cent has resulted in an additional $116 million in the hands of Victorian families each year.

In Victoria alone we are also providing record levels of funding for early childhood education and care, including:

• $399 million through the Child Care Benefit;
• $291 million through the Child Care Rebate to pay up to 50 per cent of out-of-pocket costs for families;
• $21.3 million for the Child Care Services Support Program to help new services start or to support services that are struggling, particularly in regional areas;
• $16.65 million for Children and Family Centres;
• $17.4 million for 11 new Early Learning and Care Centres; and
• $210 million for Victorian kindergartens.

If the Victorian Government really cared about families they would cease pulling money out of educational programs and early childhood and health services.