16 June 2015

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NEWS DESK

Federal cuts force up child care costs MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire says it will continue to provide family day care, despite the imminent slashing of federal funding for the service. As a result, the shire says it has been forced to double its administration levee from mid-July from 75 cents to $1.50 an hour for each child “rather than see this service lost to the community”. The shire regards its family day care as a high quality, regulated home based child care service for children up to 13. Children are looked after in a registered carer’s home – not a day care centre. Operators provide flexible care day and night, seven days a week under a licence agreement with the shire. The shire is regarded as the administrator of the service which provides places for about 200 peninsula families. It compiles timesheets, ensures child care providers run clean and tidy premises and have relevant licences. Home visits ensure compliance. Fees depend on family incomes and are usually paid fortnightly. Rebates are recouped through child care assistance schemes.

The shire receives $140,000 from the federal government to help run of the service – but this will stop on 1 July. Parents will be able to recoup a proportion of the increased fees through either the child care rebate or child care assistance. It is expected that no parent will be asked to pay the full amount of the increase. The mayor Cr Bev Colomb said the family day care program was highly respected and had consistently met the requirements of the national quality framework (NQF). It was awarded a rating of “exceeding the national quality standards” at the most recent assessments and ratings visit. “Council is committed to the FDC program and the wonderful service it provides in our community,” she said. “It is always a difficult decision to raise fees, but to continue this important service in light of funding cuts leaves us no option.” Cr Colomb said family day care users should contact the shire for further information about the new fees. Stephen Taylor

Mixed choice for school holiday activities MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire’s school holiday program offers a range of activities for children, including incursions and excursions. Programs are run weekdays Monday 29 JuneFriday 10 July and are open to primary schoolaged children. Venues are the Civic Reserve Recreation Centre, Mornington, 7.30am-6.30pm; Bentons Square Community Centre, Mornington, 7.30am-6.30pm and Hastings Community Hub, Hastings, 7.30am-6.30pm. Annual family registration fees are $20. A Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate can

reduce these fees. Details: www.mornpen.vic.gov.au The Youth Services Team will also be hosting its winter school holiday program. It is open to all young people living in, or going to school, on the Mornington Peninsula. Activities will be based at Shed 11 and the Hastings Youth Centre. They are open to those aged 10-17 years. Activities at Shed 11 are free and bookings are not required, although staff require completed consent forms.

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Volunteer VIPs: Cr Antonella Celi, the mayor Cr Bev Colomb, volunteer Elaine Russell and library services coordinator Stephanie Wilson celebrate the work of volunteers.

Thanks for library volunteers VOLUNTEERS play a big role in the life of Mornington Peninsula Shire. The library service has 137 volunteers, including 67 in the home library service and 70 in four branches and the mobile library. Branch volunteers assist at the library each day in ensuring items are correctly shelved and that the presentation of libraries is first class. Home library volunteers provide an essential community service by providing reading, audio and other

library items to those unable to visit a branch. Library volunteer Elaine Russell, who has just celebrated 20 years of volunteer service at Rosebud Library, was praised at a recent volunteers’ luncheon – part of National Volunteers’ Week. “The shire and library’s team is delighted to take a moment to focus on the contribution volunteers make, their community spirit and their selflessness. Thank you volunteers,” Mornington Peninsula Shire Mayor Cr Bev Colomb said.

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