Release type: Media Release

Date:

Closing the gap for Indigenous families in Queensland

Ministers:

The Hon Kate Ellis MP
Minister for Early Childhood Education, Child Care and Youth

Joint media release with Queensland Premier Anna Bligh

The Federal Minister for Early Childhood Education and Child Care Kate Ellis and Queensland’s Premier Anna Bligh today announced ten new Children and Family Centres for Queensland.

The Australian Government is investing $75.18 million in centres at Mt Isa, Cairns, Mareeba, Ipswich, Mackay, Rockhampton, Mornington Island, Doomadgee, Marsden and Palm Island.

“The first years of a child’s life set them on a road to adulthood - we want that journey to take them to good health, education and social development,” Ms Ellis said.

“We want Indigenous children to get the best start in life. Experts tell us that quality early education has the power to break the cycle of disadvantage and that’s vital to closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.”

The ten centres will target the needs of Indigenous families and their young children, but all families will be able to use the centres.

Children and Family Centres are a hub for services that help children and their families develop in terms of health, education and social interaction.

Premier Bligh said the State Government will contribute the land for the centres where possible.

“These places were chosen because of their growing number of young Indigenous children. This is about providing real support for vulnerable Queensland children and their families.

“Many of the centres across Australia will be in Queensland due to the state’s high number of remote communities. We want all families to have access to vital childhood services, no matter where they live in Queensland,” Ms Bligh said.

The Queensland Government will lead the next step - talking with each community about the specific sites for the centres and what types of services best suit local needs.

Thirty-five Children and Family Centres will be built across Australia as part of the $564 millionIndigenous Early Childhood Development National Partnership Agreementbetween the Australian Government and states and territories.

The centres will open over the next four years, with Mt Isa opening in mid-2010; Cairns, Mareeba and Ipswich in early 2011; Mackay, Rockhampton, Mornington Island and Doomadgee from early 2012; and Marsden and Palm Island in mid-2012.

For more information visit www.deewr.gov.au/earlychildhoodor call 1300 363 079.