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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 2 Hansard (3 March) . . Page.. 656..


Ms Gallagher: She's been highlighting it since 1996. Who was in government then?

MR STANHOPE: Yes. I think I answered that question a month or so ago, but I am happy to go over the issue briefly. I am sure I answered that very question in sittings in early February. Issues in relation to the adequacy of reporting were raised on a number of occasions, as Ms Gallagher asserts. She has more direct reference than I do to the papers and the history of this matter since 1996-through all the period that you, Mr Cornwell, were in government and your colleagues had ministerial responsibility.

The crux of the question Mr Cornwell asks is: why didn't I ring and ask Mr Corbell? I do not know why I did not. I made an assumption that was wrong and misplaced. I have acknowledged that, and I have expressed my regret for it. It is a matter of embarrassment to me as a politician that I made a public statement that was quite obviously wrong. I made it on the basis of an assumption-as a result of my lack of knowledge and the conversation I had with Ms Gallagher around her lack of knowledge-that this was news to the government.

Frankly, I did not think that it might have come to Mr Corbell's attention when it had not come to mine or Ms Gallagher's. It was an assumption I made that was wrong and misplaced, and I regret it. I regret the extent to which my language was not as careful or as precise as it might have been. It is a matter of regret and embarrassment to me.

Gungahlin children's centre

MS MacDONALD: My question without notice is addressed to the Minister for Education, Youth and Family Services. I note that the minister recently opened the Gungahlin children's centre. Will the minister please advise members what facilities and services are offered at that centre?

MS GALLAGHER: I am glad that I have an opportunity to speak about the new children's centre in Gungahlin, which commenced operation in December 2003 and which provides 90 childcare places for children in the Gungahlin region from birth to the age of five. I have toured the facility, which is housed in a fantastic building with state-of-the-art facilities for children, including windows at child-friendly heights, a craft room for children located adjacent to the preschool, a dining room where children enjoy eating their lunches together away from the activities that are provided in other rooms. The use of colour and the design of that centre are attractive and appropriate for children.

The Gungahlin children's centre also provides two spaces that can be hired by community groups. The small meeting room has the required services to support mothers intending to breastfeed their babies. Those spaces will provide much-needed space for the Gungahlin community. Approximately $2.4 million was spent on this new children's centre. The 90 childcare places provided at that centre are in addition to the 54 childcare places provided at Nicholls early childhood centre and Ngunnawal children's services centre. The government also opened Amaroo preschool, which will have 100 children enrolled this year.

In addition to those enhancements in Gungahlin, a further $950,000 has been allocated to expand existing government-owned childcare centres across Canberra. Those services


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