Federal Member for Mallee Dr Anne Webster has called on the new Labor Government to prioritise the child care needs of regional Victorians.

The Shadow Assistant Minister for Regional Development wrote to the Minister for Education and the Minister for Early Childhood Education to urge them to commit to addressing the regional disadvantage.

Dr Webster said that many towns in her electorate of Mallee have no childcare, leaving young families desperate and workplaces short of staff.

“Available child care is the difference for some families between one and two incomes. It has a dramatic impact on their financial stability,” Dr Webster said.

“It is also about equity and opportunity as women in particular should be able to pursue their career ambitions and passions.

“In a sparse electorate like Mallee here are significant barriers to establishing child care centres, such as financial viability, staffing and attracting operators. But ultimately these challenges need to be addressed. While Labor promised in the election campaign to provide a 90% subsidy on childcare for families with incomes up to $530,000, there is a disconnect in this ideal when there is no childcare within ‘cooee’.

“I am urging the incoming government to make this a priority of theirs, not just for Mallee, but for many communities throughout regional Australia who are experiencing this inequity.”

The Coalition when in government specifically targeting this regional disadvantage through the investment into the Community Child Care Fund (CCCF), specifically for smaller towns in regional communities.

“I have written to the new Ministers Clare and Aly to urge them to prioritise investment into the Community Child Care Fund. I’ve also specifically requested the Government them to honour the $845,000 in funding committed under the Coalition to the Dunmunkle Child Care Centre in Murtoa where the community has lobbied very hard for some time,” Dr Webster said.

“Federal Labor have promised a great deal in terms of child care, but the proof of how committed they are will be tested by how they respond to the needs of regional families. It’s one thing to provide free child care to those in capital cities, but here in regional Australia, the challenges are even more complex and require focussed assistance.

“Communities like Pyramid Hill, Boort, Cohuna, Edenhope, Birchip and Wedderburn and countless others are crying out for support and investment. It’s now up to Labor to show how truthfully their political will extends to the country