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Federal government moves to tackle childcare and early education shortages in remote communities

Giovanni Torre -

Federal Minister for Early Childhood Education, Dr Anne Aly, has announced four new community-run early childhood education and care services for remote communities across WA, Queensland and the Northern Territory.

Dr Aly announced on Friday that the services will help remote communities access early childhood education and care.

"Every child should be able to access quality early childhood education and care, no matter where they live," she said.

"When children access quality early learning they do better throughout life, from better health outcomes, improved school readiness and higher paying jobs later in life.

"With quality early childhood education and care we have the ability to change the trajectory of a child's life, helping to Close the Gap for First Nations Children."

The sites will be run by First Nations led organisations in Central Australian Aboriginal Congress in Alice Springs, NT; Central Desert Regional Council in Ti Tree, NT; Bundiyarra Aboriginal Community Corporation in Geraldton, WA; and Kowanyama Aboriginal Shire Council in Kowanyama, Queensland.

Last year residents and care workers in remote communities told a Senate inquiry there was a growing crisis in the system with childcare "deserts" appearing in the regions.

In October, SNAICC – National Voice for our Children welcomed the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's second interim report into childcare costs and accessibility, and urged the federal government to take "bold and necessary measures" to ensure early learning and care are more accessible and affordable for families across the country.

The four new sites announced Friday are in addition to four sites announced in April.

In a statement the federal government said that once all eight services are established, they will be providing access to vital quality early childhood education and care for more than 300 children per year.

SNAICC will be the community partner for the new services – supporting their establishment and the implementation of community-led and culturally safe early childhood education and care.

The new services are part of the $575 million Community Child Care Fund, "helping address barriers to participation in early childhood education by helping much needed services open and stay open in communities across Australia", the government said.

The program currently funds over 900 services, with around 60 per cent of funding supporting services located in regional and remote communities.

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