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  1. NAMS has welcomed the Australian Labor Party (ALP) announcements outlining their Childcare Policy. Budget Based Funded (BBF) Services have been a focus for the ALP with ongoing support and promises of increasing funding. Services that are funded under the Budget Based Funding (BBF) program are made up of both Aboriginal Services and Mobile Children’s Services that predominately work in Rural and Remote Communities. The Jobs for Families Package that has now been delayed until 2018 by the Coalition, restricted and removed direct support for the continuation of the current BBF program. The ALP new Childcare Policy proposes to increase funding of $23 million to BBF services over 4 years and increase $25 million of capital funding for 3 years.

    The announcement by the ALP Policy proposes the continuation and growth of these BBF Mobile Children’s Services by increasing funding to Mobiles specifically of $7 million over 4 years as well as $6 million for new Mobiles Services. BBF Mobile Children’s Services has not had an injection of new funding for over a decade, the last time new BBF Mobile Services were established was in 2003. Mobile Services operational costs are increasing and have not been met by the current BBF model as it does not always match Consumer Price Index (CPI). The ALP Policy proposal has included a 15% increase to BBF programs.

    Considering Mobile Children’s Services exist to address the needs of children and families in rural and remote communities where no centre based service is viable, increasing funding and injecting new money into more Mobile Children’s Services that are flexible, responsive and accessible to children in rural and remote circumstances is very welcomed by NAMS. Children and parents value and benefit from the direct support, contact and assistance of Mobile Services. NAMS members provide much evidence that without access to our Mobile Children’s Service, parents can be less empowered and lack assistance to find assessment for children, assistance for intervention and mentoring. Sadly, there are many areas across the rural and remote area, that with no Mobile Services many children miss out altogether on accessing an Educational Program prior to school.

    Other than additional BBF funding NAMS is keen to see how this new policy can assist children in Rural Australia not having access to any form of Children’s Services. We are aware of the rural areas that are missing out, NAMS is interested to see what new proposals there are to meet those needs.

    Mobiles Services respond to families and the education of all children in Rural and Remote Communities. NAMS encourages government to further develop policies that provide frameworks for the education and care for all children in Rural and Remote Communities rather than just a Childcare policy.

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