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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 7 Hansard (30 June) . . Page.. 2902..


MR COE: Further to when Labor will fulfil the promise, how many new spaces have been created through this commitment?

MS BURCH: I think I have indicated that the new figures this morning from the department have indicated an additional 530 childcare places coming on in the next 12 months.

MRS DUNNE: Supplementary question, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mrs Dunne.

MRS DUNNE: Minister, is the $4 million allocation to the childcare centre at Flynn in addition to the 2008 election promise or instead of the ACT Labor Party's 2008 election promise?

MS BURCH: It is part of the 2008 election commitments.

MRS DUNNE: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. In that case, Minister, you have already spent $4 million and you have delivered one childcare place. Where were you going to get the money and how much extra money will you provide for the extra childcare centre?

MS BURCH: That, Ms Dunne, is on the assumption that we are responsible for building and putting on line each and every childcare place. We have delivered $4 million, and we will look across the sector. The sector itself is quite capable, in responding to the needs of ACT families. I think it is incumbent on this government, one, to take its own responsibilities seriously, but also to allow partnerships with the commercial sector.

Health—autism spectrum disorder

MR DOSZPOT: My question is to the Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services. Minister, the commonwealth health department advises that children with autism require, at minimum, 20 hours per week—1,000 hours per year—of intensive early intervention autism spectrum disorder treatment for at least two years. Since Therapy ACT does not provide 1,000 hours per year per child, how does the ACT government ensure a child with autism-ASD gets the proper treatment that they need?

MS BURCH: I thank Mr Doszpot for his interest in autism. This government responds to supporting the needs of children with autism and their families by allocating $400,000-odd over the next four years for a coordinator with a particular view to supporting families with children with autism so they can navigate the complex array of both local and commonwealth services for those families. In last year's budget we committed significant moneys and brought on additional speech therapists.

Therapy ACT conducts multidisciplinary assessments that aid in diagnosis. Therapy ACT is not the only health clinician in the ACT that responds to the needs of children


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