Families supported by shift workers in Melbourne’s south-east are among those to benefit from an $11 million package to increase the flexibility and accessibility of child care across Australia.
Minister for Early Childhood and Child Care Kate Ellis today joined the Member for La Trobe Laura Smyth in the City of Casey whose child care service is one of 50 trial sites to look at ways to better meet the needs of modern families and shift workers.
"We know that for many modern families, a little bit of flexibility would go a long way in helping juggle their work-life commitments,” Ms Ellis said.
"This is especially the case for shift workers who can often be called out unexpectedly at any hour of the day or night in services that benefit our community."
Minister Ellis said the trial in Casey would specifically benefit police officers with children.
"As well as giving parents more flexible child care hours to help them out with the mad dash to get the kids to child care each day, we’re partnering up police officers with Family Day Care educators who can meet their child care needs out of traditional hours,” Ms Ellis said.
"A Police Federation of Australia survey has showed that 58 per cent of police officers work rotating shifts, and often shifts change unexpectedly, making it extremely difficult to find child care that meets their needs.
"The Police Association’s Women’s Advisory Committee has told me how hard it is for female officers in particular to manage their work and family commitments, and what a difference more flexible child care arrangements will make to the families of police officers.”
Minister Ellis and Ms Smyth visited local families of Victorian Police who will benefit from the Australian Government’s Child Care Flexibility Trial being delivered through the City of Casey Family Day Care scheme in Narre Warren.
"I am very proud that the City of Casey Family Day Care service in Narre Warren is taking a national leadership role that will have benefits for families and children across Australia well into the future,” Ms Smyth said.
"I encourage all police officer families in my electorate to register their interest in accessing this trial which will provide them with flexible child care that fits around their rosters.”
Minister Ellis said the Government is also encouraging more interested parties who want to trial new models of flexible child care to apply for funding under the $1.3 million Child Care Flexibility Fund.
"Our fund provides a great opportunity for these types of organisations across Victoria and Australia to apply for funds to road test their great ideas for more flexible, affordable and sustainable child care," Ms Ellis said.
Minister Ellis said the package is part of the Australian Government’s reforms to meet the needs of modern families, including changes to the Fair Work Act to help make modern workplaces more flexible for parents.
"We understand there has been a significant shift in the workforce in the last decade with a 25 per cent increase in the number of women in employment, creating extra demand for more flexible child care,” Ms Ellis said.
More information on the Child Care Flexibility Trials and the Child Care Flexibility Fund is available at www.mychild.gov.au.
Expressions of interest are now open for 100 police families in Victoria to be part of the flexible child care trial. They can register their interest to participate in the trial by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to receive an information pack.
Minister Ellis’ media contact: Joshua Cooney 0428 300 514
Laura Smyth’s media contact: Chris O’Leary 0414 104 558
DEEWR Media: email@example.com