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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 9 Hansard (26 August) . . Page.. 4044..


MR HANSON (continuing):

Mr Speaker, it was a night when comments were made across the chamber. As you said this morning, it did get heated. I note that Mr Stanhope also made comments that were directed at me, specifically, of an offensive nature. I would ask that, in a consistent fashion, if we are to be consistent in this place, he, too, apologise for those comments.

Questions without notice

Childcare—fees

MR SESELJA: My question is to the Minister for Children and Young People. A survey of 170 New South Wales childcare centres, commissioned by Child Care New South Wales, reveals that parents in New South Wales could face childcare fee increases of up to $33 per child per day when the federal government's new staff-to-child ratios come into effect. It also revealed that some childcare centres will reduce place numbers to reduce costs, therefore putting pressure on available places. In response, Child Care New South Wales is calling for an increase of 15 per cent in government subsidies. Minister, are you aware of the New South Wales survey and its results, and what assessment have you made of the impact of the new child-to-staff ratios on childcare fees in the ACT?

MS BURCH: I am aware of the New South Wales survey. Indeed, Mrs Dunne spoke about it last week when she made comment that that survey showed a rise of $20.56 a day but then she went on to say that it would probably cost more in the ACT, which is just arrant nonsense and wrong facts and figures. Mrs Dunne knows as well as I do that the framework has been costed through Access Economics and that it is $2.75 per child per week in 2012 up to $11.39 by 2025. So we have considered the cost of the COAG reforms on childcare. Indeed, we look forward to the impact that it will have—the positive impact about improvement in the quality of the workforce and a better child-to-staff ratio. Everyone—parents and providers—that I have spoken to thinks that that is a very good thing indeed.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Seselja?

MR SESELJA: Minister, what representations have you made to the federal government to increase childcare subsidies to help compensate parents for the additional costs imposed by federal government policy?

MS BURCH: Look, I think I would note that the federal government has increased childcare rebates effectively by 20 per cent, so it has increased and has afforded increased support to families. It has done; it will continue to do so. The government is looking to move from quarterly payments to fortnightly payments, so that is a very good thing indeed. We have looked at and work with the local services. I talk regularly with the children's services forum, and it is something that ministers across the country have had ongoing discussions about. I refer to your colleagues in WA, who have signed up to this as well.

MR SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mrs Dunne?


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