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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2012 Week 5 Hansard (2 May) . . Page.. 1813..

education and care services, and a further eight per cent are operated by non-government schools, with 18 per cent privately owned and operated. The ACT and the Northern Territory are the only jurisdictions to have such a high proportion of community managed to private operators.

The ACT government is committed to supporting both community and privately run services to increase their available places, with 32 community managed education and care services operating from facilities which are owned and supported by the Community Services Directorate.

The government's capital upgrades program and community grants have also assisted a number of centres to offer more places. This growth will continue with our investment of $9 million for capital upgrades funded in last year's budget, which will see an increase of around 170-plus places across community operated centres. I am pleased to inform the Assembly that a number of those centre works have commenced.

Land release for childcare centres is also an important plank for supporting the local childcare sector and allows the government to target growth in areas of demand. A site in Giralang was sold in May 2011 for education and care purposes, and further sites in Macarthur, Holt and Gungahlin will be for sale this year.

The government is committed to ensuring that, when parents drop off their children at an education and care service, they know their children are happy and will be looked after. The government is committed to supporting women's participation in the workforce particularly, and this why it is important that, when a parent drops off their child at a centre in the morning, they can be confident their child is in a safe learning environment.

The ACT Labor government believes in supporting women to return to the workforce because this is an important thing to do. This contrasts with the Canberra Liberals, who believe the workforce for women is indeed nothing but a luxury. For the reasons I have outlined, the ACT Labor government has been working closely with the childcare sector to ensure that, as a community, we continue to offer reliable, affordable and quality care in children's services.

Mr Coe interjecting—

MR SPEAKER: Mr Hargreaves, a supplementary.

MR HARGREAVES: Mr Speaker, you might like to advise Mr Coe that additional volume does not indicate additional quality.

MR SPEAKER: Thank you, Mr Hargreaves; your supplementary question.

MR HARGREAVES: My supplementary to the minister is: what programs has the government implemented to support the availability and standard of childcare for Canberra families, particularly with respect to meeting the requirements of the national quality framework that you mentioned earlier?

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