A group of family representatives from across the Goulburn Valley met with placards in hand at Wendy Lovell’s office in Shepparton on Friday, to protest the lack of support after the axing of occasional care program, ‘Take a Break’.
The message was clear local families are fed up with excuses and receiving ‘No Love from Lovell’. As a representative of the group, local Moorilim mother of two, Cecilie Munro said, “Farming families cannot complete farm work with young children around and occasional care has provided an opportunity for kids to not only gain social skills, but remain safe.”
“The Victorian government continues to argue that it will only provide funding if the Commonwealth also does so. However, it has been over 12 months since the Commonwealth withdrew its support for the program and in the meantime the State Governments of Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia have agreed to fund the Commonwealth shortfall.”
“The Victorian Government has therefore indicated it has the money for the program, its time they stopped bickering with the Commonwealth and ensure rural families are not disadvantaged.”
“Wendy is not listening to her constituents, she is after all our member for Northern Victoria. We would just like to see someone stick up for us.”
In response to the demonstration, Minister for Children and Early Childhood Development, Wendy Lovell released the following statement:
“I understand that people are angry about the Federal Government’s decision to rip its majority funding from Take a Break in May last year.
“I have committed to continue the State Government’s funding for Take a Break if the Federal Government lives up to its responsibility and reinstates its funding.
“It is the Federal Government that is responsible for the funding of childcare, and that is why Kate Ellis’s title is the Minister for Childcare.
“It’s also why the Federal Coalition has committed to put the money back into occasional care if it wins government.
“The Gillard Government is the only government passing the buck on the Take a Break program.
“It is Kate Ellis who stands in the way of Take a Break program continuing.
“I urge people to contact her and ask her to reinstate the funding for the program so that it can continue.”