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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 10 Hansard (23 September) . . Page.. 4456..


MS BURCH: Again, I would have to take some advice on the quantum. As for the exemptions for centres where they do not have the staff, I could count them on one hand, I am sure, but I can get back to you with the detail.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Seselja, a supplementary?

MR SESELJA: Minister, what is the government's policy on granting exemptions to centres that are unable to find appropriately qualified staff?

MS BURCH: We have a regime for exemptions in place now and they are for a number of reasons. It could be that they cannot recruit staff and we put an exemption in place that allows the continuance of that program. If the centre is proactive and is demonstrating its recruitment processes, then it just does not seem to make sense to impinge on the function of that centre.

Similarly, there are exemptions in place if there are minor modifications going on. So these are sensible, practical, pragmatic exceptions that allow that centre to continue, but also they are not ongoing. There is also a regime in place about that. They are put in place and they are extended under the guidance and under the approval of the CPRU. So it is not an ongoing exemption. It is just when the services are demonstrating to meet the necessary requirements.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Seselja, a supplementary?

MR SESELJA: What assurances can you make to new parents who will be trying to find care for their children in 2012 that there will be adequate childcare places available for their children close to their home or workplace?

MS BURCH: I thank the Liberals for their interest in childcare. This government is investing in childcare. As I have said here before, we are investing in Flynn, which is providing support accommodation to two childcare services. Also we are supporting another north-side childcare service to expand their areas for under-twos.

We are committed to increasing childcare places. At the moment there are over 15,500. I understand that 15,560 is the current number of childcare places. We expect that in this year that will increase to over 500. We have put more childcare places online already this year, with more to come. Our commitment is to work with the services, to work with families, to ensure that, where we can, we can make sure that there are adequate childcare places.

On childcare places, I note that if you look at the information—I think it is DEEWR who provided the information—there were over 800 vacancies across 100 services last year. So there are vacancies within the system. But we recognise that sometimes that is just a result of not matching the hours and requirements of families.

Health—mental health crisis assessment and treatment team

MS BRESNAN: My question is to the Minister for Health and is about the mental health crisis assessment and treatment team, otherwise known as CATT. Minister, in


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