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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 10 Hansard (23 August) . . Page.. 3047..


MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

this, but I will not have the security and integrity of the emergency services headquarters compromised any further.

Emergency Services Authority

MRS DUNNE: My question is to the minister for emergency services. Minister, the director of the Teddy Bears Child Care Centre in north Curtin has been in contact with the opposition about the fact that he has been asked to relocate his childcare centre from the building that he shares with the Emergency Services Authority.

As you know, minister, the Teddy Bears Child Care Centre has occupied these premises for 14 years and was in fact there before the former Emergency Services Bureau was there. Minister, is it a fact that the reason for this proposed relocation is because the headquarters of the authority is considered to be at risk of being a terrorist target? If so, why is the childcare centre not being moved out immediately? If there is such a risk, why is the Teddy Bears Child Care Centre being offered a six-month lease? Is there a risk for the children there?

MR HARGREAVES: I need to correct the record. It was, in fact, in the first instance the proprietor of the Teddy Bears Child Care Centre who approached the Emergency Services Authority about moving. It was not the ESA approaching the childcare centre. Let us get that straight.

Secondly, there are 110 kids. I am hearing Mrs Dunne saying to me, "Why haven't you dumped these 110 kids straight on the street? As soon as you were aware of this, why didn't you dump them out?"The answer to that, Mr Speaker, is that I have more compassion than they do. What we are saying to them is that it would be unreasonable for anybody, private or non, to say to these people, "Your lease expires right now. See you later."That is what you would expect in the private sector, as espoused by this lot!

What I have said to these people is, "I understand the difficulty you have finding premises. You have got six months."It is called risk analysis. I do not want anything to happen. I do not want any of these kids put in jeopardy at all. I do not want this guy's business put in jeopardy either. I reckon six months is a pretty reasonable offer.

Mrs Dunne comes up with all of these trick questions. But at the end of the day you can distil it down to this question: if it is a terrorist attack, why haven't you kicked these kids out onto the street? Why haven't you done that, minister? Why haven't you said, "On your bike; off you go"? I am not going to go down that track at all.

The proprietor of this shopping centre has known this has been coming for a long time. The history of the licence agreements has been 10 years, down to two years and then down to one month. You can tell there is something in there. We have said to the proprietor, "You should be looking for alternative premises."It is territory property. This is a commercial enterprise. But, unlike the private sector, we have not said, "There's the line in the sand. After that you're gone."We have said, "We understand the difficulties you are going through. Here is six months breathing space. Let's try to work together."That is what we have said. For these people to portray it otherwise is quite inappropriate.


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