Parenting Services

Minister’s statement

Ms MIKAKOS (Northern Metropolitan—Minister for Health, Minister for Ambulance Services) (13:53): I rise to inform the house on how the Andrews Labor government is continuing to provide world-class services to support all Victorian parents. The 2019–20 budget invests nearly $214 million to deliver on our promise to parents with Victoria’s largest ever parenting support package. This includes $135.1 million to establish seven early parenting centres across our state, with new locations in Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Casey, Frankston, Whittlesea and Wyndham. We are also providing $9 million each for upgrades at the Tweddle Child and Family Health Service in Footscray and the Queen Elizabeth Centre in Noble Park.

Our package includes a range of supports via our maternal and child health (MCH) service, including an expanded maternal and child health line, with experts on sleep and settling to take a further 20 000 to 25 000 phone calls from parents and caregivers 24 hours a day, seven days a week; extra first-time parent group sessions with a focus on sleeping and feeding, and we will also look at providing extra sessions at more convenient times for both parents to be able to attend; and home-based sleep support for 7000 vulnerable families, giving sleep-deprived mums, dads and caregivers assurance and advice.

Our baby bundles are well underway and will provide around 35 000 first-time parents with a small bundle of essentials to make sure every child gets the very best start in life. We are also providing free child car seat checks to give parents the peace of mind that their car seats are appropriately fitted. We know that raising a child is not easy, which is why we are doing what we can to ensure Victorian families get the support they need when they need it.

As a child’s first and most enduring educator in life, we know parenting has the strongest effects on child development. This is why with our investments, including the investments in our last term of government, we have more than tripled investment in Victoria’s MCH service compared to the previous Liberal government. I have had the pleasure of meeting many of our dedicated MCH nurses across Victoria, and their passion and commitment to supporting parents and children is second to none. Only the Andrews Labor government will back our nurses and deliver the services that Victorian parents need.