Labor candidate for Macquarie Susan Templeman has welcomed Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s announcement last week of $450 million extra for before and after school care as a welcome boost for working families in the Blue Mountains.
Visiting Winmalee Out of School Hours Care (Pinnaroo OOSH) on Friday, Ms Templeman said “many parents and carers in the Mountains commute long distances to and from work and the care arrangements for their school aged children are vital to their ability to balance work and family”.
“While both my children have now left school, as a Winmalee working mother for 22 years I understand how important it is to know that your children are safe and cared for in before and after school care that is open for extended periods of the day.”
She said the money will benefit up to 345,000 primary schoolchildren in 8,143 services across the country for the next four years.
“It would help local schools to expand the activities they can offer students during before and after school care including music programs, supervised sport and organised homework,” she said.
“Cost of living pressures and the time constraints of daily life are affecting families in the Mountains and I am delighted that local families will be better supported through this new initiative.
“The more flexibility and options we can give working families the better.”
Pinnaroo OOSH co-ordinator Lyn Morran said her centre has “the biggest number of children with special needs in the Mountains”.
“So the extra funds will always help us to hire extra specialist staff,” she said.
For parent Cherry Yates, affordable childcare was top issue on her federal election wishlist.
“Otherwise my child would end up being a ‘latchkey’ child,” she said.