Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 9 Hansard (25 August) . . Page.. 3909..
DR BOURKE: Minister, how is the government planning to spend its $9 million investment in community childcare facilities?
MS BURCH: I thank Dr Bourke for his interest in community facilities. The upgrade of early childhood facilities will improve and refurbish childcare facilities to assist them across Canberra as they embrace the new national quality standards, which come into place next year. This $9 million investment will make a significant difference to families looking for quality childcare for their children so they can return to work and contribute to the family budget.
The review into childcare sites being undertaken by the Community Services Directorate is almost complete. The government has employed architects who have experience in childcare centres to look at each childcare centre, including the external play areas, to determine their capacity to meet the new standards and to provide further childcare places. Issues such as anticipated future demand and planning consideration are also taken into account.
I expect to be in a position to report to the Assembly during the September sittings on the outcomes of this review. Based on the early results of that work, the following centres have been identified for early extension and refurbishment: Black Mountain community preschool and childcare centre at Acton, Campbell Cottage childcare centre in Campbell and Cooinda Cottage in Charnwood. Preliminary design work has been completed on these sites and planning approvals are in the process of being obtained. The extensions of these centres will realise an additional 49-plus childcare places, which will be welcomed by Canberra families.
This $9 million investment is on top of the $250,000 that we have delivered to the childcare sector through our childcare grants program. I encourage all members here to support the childcare sector. Information about grants and who received them is certainly available on the website. I look forward to updating more sites when we go through the $9 million in upgrading community childcare centres.
MR COE: A supplementary, Mr Speaker.
MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Coe.
MR COE: Minister, can you assure the Assembly that the childcare facility in Flynn will be open for the start of next year?
MS BURCH: Certainly from the information I have from the directorate, I recognise that the services will be there in early January for the start of the year. Certainly that is the advice I have.
MR DOSZPOT: My question is to the Minister for Community Services. I refer to the announcement that now that the Greens have the majority in the Senate the planned slash of more than eight per cent to the childcare rebate has become a reality