While the Albanese Government’s first Budget has made considerable commitments to reform in the early years, there is still considerable work that needs to be done to close the gap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
SNAICC – National Voice for our Children CEO Catherine Liddle said reforms to make childcare cheaper and lifting parental leave were welcome.
“But specific commitments are needed if barriers are going to be removed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families,” Ms Liddle said.
“The Budget announcement around specific funding to increase access to playgroups for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children is very welcome.
“We look forward to seeing more detail on the $12.4 million overall funding allocated to playgroups and libraries.
“We were happy to see the Federal Government investing $33.7 million over four years to meet their commitment to changing the activity test so Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children will be able to access 36 hours of subsidised childcare a fortnight.
“This increase of 12 hours a fortnight is a significant step forward.
“But all the evidence says what will make a real difference in making sure our children meet developmental milestones and are ready for school is scrapping the activity test.
“This was recommended for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in the Interim Report of the Senate Select Committee on Work and Care, which also recommends an immediate increase in funding for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander early education and care services.”
Ms Liddle said it was reassuring to see the $10.2 million commitment to establishing the Early Childhood Care and Development Policy Partnership in this Budget.
“This partnership under the Closing the Gap Agreement will develop policies on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child protection, family services, and early education and care.”
SNAICC will continue to advocate for evidence-based changes to reduce the numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care.
“This includes funding actions under the Safe and Supported, the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children.
“We are concerned there is no funding in this Budget for Safe and Supported, which has the potential to be a game changer in keeping our children safe and connected to family and culture.
“It also shifts the way Government works with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, making sure they lead the decisions that impact their lives.
“Unless these commitments are backed up with funding they are just words.”
Media Contact: Mandy Taylor, 0414 634 159