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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 7 Hansard (1 July) . . Page.. 3090..


MR BARR: I know it has been a long week for you guys; it must be getting very tough. It has been a long time in opposition. I was looking to pass a few hours last night and I went back—and I think this probably reflects badly on my character, Mr Speaker—and read some of Mr Smyth's previous responses to budgets, just to see whether anything had changed over the years. I was going back year after year after year. One thing that is very certain is that the shadow treasurer calls for plans and strategies every year.

Mr Seselja: A point of order, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Stop the clocks, thank you.

Mr Seselja: Whatever the minister is babbling on about now has nothing to do with the question he was asked, and I would ask you to direct him to be relevant.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Barr, you can—

MR BARR: Mr Speaker, I apologise. I was momentarily distracted by the shenanigans from those opposite.

In relation to trees, yes, it is possible; it has occurred in the past and it will continue to occur in the future where the planning authority, in making a final decision, will not necessarily incorporate every element of the advice of the conservator of trees. That process is there in the legislation and the planning authority has that capacity. It does not happen that often, but there will be times when there will be disagreement, and there is a formal process for that disagreement to be recognised and to be resolved. But ultimately we are balancing a range of competing interests, and the government needs to ensure that there is an orderly process for the development of land in new suburbs. Whilst every effort is made to protect as many trees as possible, from time to time some trees will have to be cut down. But the government's policy, and it is clear from the efforts of the Chief Minister, has been to plant many thousands of new trees to replace trees that are cut down.

Childcare—staff-to-child ratios

MR COE: My question is to the Minister for Children and Young People. Minister, in this week's edition of the CityNews Roxanne Elliott, founder of www.careforkids.com.au suggests that, because of the introduction of the new staff-to-child ratios, some childcare centres are:

reviewing whether they will continue to provide care for children under two, as it will be cost-prohibitive to do so.

Minister, what assessment has your department made of the potential impact of the new staff-to-child ratios on under two childcare places being made available to the ACT community in the future, and will you table that assessment?

MS BURCH: I thank Mr Coe for his interest in childcare. Here in the ACT, for the over twos we already meet the new ratios; for the under twos 25 per cent of our


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