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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 12 Hansard (27 October) . . Page.. 5153..


Childcare—costs

MRS DUNNE: My question is to the Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services. Minister, today's CPI figures show that the cost of childcare in Canberra has risen by 6.7 per cent in the last 12 months. Minister, why has childcare risen by around three times the rate of inflation in the time that you have been minister?

MS BURCH: The fees set by the childcare sector are for them to determine. I am not quite sure how Mrs Dunne makes the connection of my ministry and the business decisions of individual childcare providers. They are business entities, whether they are community-based groups or for-profit groups, commercial-based groups. They make decisions based on their own business models, their own arrangements and their own needs for their future planning. I do not accept the premise of Mrs Dunne's question.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mrs Dunne?

MRS DUNNE: Minister, why is childcare becoming less affordable under your stewardship, given that the CPI figures today show that Canberra childcare fees have risen by 6.7 per cent in the past 12 months?

MS BURCH: What we are doing to support the childcare sector, indeed, is to bring forward, with stewardship from my office, the national quality agenda, which is around underpinning the earlier years of childcare and child education, is around quality agenda. We have been through this discussion a number of times. I noticed in the weekend's paper there was commentary around childcare costs. So I am not—

Mr Hanson: Mr Speaker, she might be getting to it but I would ask her to be directly relevant. The question is about costs, not about quality.

MR SPEAKER: Minister Burch, focus on the question of costs.

MS BURCH: I think I will have to remember that.

Opposition members interjecting—

MS BURCH: Mr Speaker, may I?

MR SPEAKER: Order! Ms Burch has the floor.

MS BURCH: In many a conversation here they have linked the two. I did notice in the weekend paper a commentary around cost of childcare. So I am not unsurprised at the attention span of those opposite, to come from Saturday's paper into this chamber and ask a question on cost. I go back and say that the fees set by childcare centres are for those centres to determine. It is not for my office or my department to determine the cost of childcare.

MR SPEAKER: Supplementary, Mr Doszpot?


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