Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 15 Hansard (9 December) . . Page.. 5539..
MR SESELJA: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, what transitional support will the ACT government provide to childcare centres to implement the new framework?
MS BURCH: I thank the member for his question. This government is committed to quality childcare. To improve safety across childcare is, indeed, a principle thing. There is transitional support offered through the federal government. There is $61 million being offered to provide transitional support to the childcare sector. That will, indeed, support families. It will support the workforce that is needed to provide quality childcare, which is the priority for our government and, indeed, should be for the nation.
These are the young and our future generation. We should make sure that they are given the best chance in life. Therefore, we will not step back from supporting the national reform agenda and quality and safety. It seems that those opposite do not have any interest in reform and do not have any interest in providing a safe, quality environment for our children.
MS PORTER: Supplementary, Mr Speaker?
MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Porter.
MS PORTER: Minister, how many extra childcare places are being provided in the ACT next year?
MS BURCH: I thank Ms Porter for her question. I am pleased to say that during 2009 an additional 666 licensed places were put in place, and over 2010 we expect approximately 424 places to be available—by the end of 2010. This will include the Lyons early childhood school, to open in January next year, offering 70 places. And from February 2010, the Forde childcare centre will be offering 90 places; Harrison childcare, 90 places; Harrison Catholic school, an additional 40 places; the Belconnen childcare centre, 90 places; and the Brindabella Christian college early childhood centre, an additional 44 places.
We have also been able to offer fee-free courses for the diploma of children's services, through the Canberra Institute of Technology. As of August this year, 385 students have enrolled in the diploma and a further 24 in the advanced diploma.
The ACT Labor government recognises how important quality childcare is for kids, their families and our economy. We will continue to work with parents, providers and childcare workers at the national level to continue to improve childcare services and availability in the ACT.
MS LE COUTEUR: My question is to the Chief Minister and concerns the government's competition policy on petrol stations. Minister, yesterday the NRMA called for major oil companies to be blocked from bidding on new petrol stations. What is the government's policy on the sale of new petrol station sites at present?