Wednesday, 1 October 2014
Shortland Electorate: Northern Lights Family Fun Day
On Monday of this week we held the second annual Northern Lights festival at San Remo on the Central Coast. It was an outstanding success, as was the one last year. The community came together for a fun day for the children and the families of San Remo and Blue Haven. There were a number of community stalls. There was a sausage sizzle, a kindy farm, face painting, a jumping castle, tug of war, three-legged races and egg-and-spoon races. It was a really big community event within San Remo.
I would like to put on record my thanks to the San Remo Neighbourhood Centre for coordinating the day, to the Northlakes Public School for allowing the event to be held within the school grounds, to Gorokan Lions Club for providing the barbecue on the day and to all those community groups who came along. Centrelink was there as was Wyong Shire Council and a number of groups that provide support to families in that area. It is an area that sometimes struggles, and an event like this provides a really good feeling in that community.
One of the issues that came up during the day was the fact that the Abbott government has cut funding to childcare and early learning programs. I had a petition on my stall and families were lining up to sign that petition. There was extreme concern about the fact that there were cuts. I spent time talking to one woman and she told me that she had taken her child out of family day care because she could not afford it. She had had another baby and she said, from her perspective, it was not worth putting her child in child care or family day care because you had to wait such a long time to find a place for your child.
The cuts that have happened really make it unaffordable for families, the woman I was talking to and the other women who were lining up. It is putting enormous pressure on OOSH care, and I acknowledge the contribution that was made by the previous speaker from this side. Educators' wages have also been cut. But congratulations to all those who were involved with the Northern Lights festival. I implore the Abbott government to move away from its cruel cuts to child care.