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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 2 Hansard (6 March) . . Page.. 648..


Mr Stefaniak: I take a point of order. I would invoke standing order 55. The Chief Minister is imputing improper motives. He is making personal reflections on all members of the opposition. He is wrong.

MR SPEAKER: There is no point of order, Mr Stefaniak. I have no control over what ministers say, and neither should I. As I have explained before, it is open to you to take action in accordance with the standing orders of this place if you are dissatisfied with the response to a question. Ministers are entitled to answer questions, provided they are concise and deal with the subject matter. I think the Chief Minister has been doing that. You might say that the answer is not short enough and it is therefore not concise. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder when it comes to an interpretation of "concise". "Concise", for the most part, means a full answer, as short as possible, to a particular issue, but it is in the hands of the minister responsible. It is open to me to terminate the response to a question if I think the minister is not addressing the question.

MR STANHOPE: In the interests of conciseness, I conclude, Mr Speaker.

MR CORNWELL: I ask a supplementary question. You have explained that Mr McLeod's inquiry is to finish in June, yet the coronial inquiry will probably run until 2005. Does that alone-never mind Mr Corbell's contradiction of your comments-undermine Mr McLeod's ability to do his job? If you are going to have two inquiries running, one to finish in June and one to finish in 2005, how can you possibly not have some duplication?

MR STANHOPE: We will not, Mr Speaker.

Child care

MS MacDONALD: My question is to the minister for education, Ms Gallagher. It is related to the report Childcare Workforce Planning Project-2002: Working with the Foundation of Australia, issued last week by the minister. Can the minister advise the Assembly of the current situation and of the challenges confronting the child-care industry in the ACT?

MS GALLAGHER: I acknowledge Ms MacDonald's continuing interest in, and support for, services to families and child care. The report I released last week regarding the ACT child-care industry examined work force issues amongst licensed children's services in the ACT last year and made several recommendations, mainly focusing on training, recruitment and retention of staff.

Of particular concern is the inability of the sector to attract diploma-qualified staff. The report found that the number of students undertaking diploma level study in child care is in steady decline. Also, staff turnover in the sector is worryingly high, particularly for unqualified positions, which currently have a turnover of about 40 per cent, but qualified positions also have a turnover of about 30 per cent.

These turnovers are hardly surprising when you look at the rates of pay for staff in child care. The untrained rate starts at $5.78 an hour. If you run a child-care room as a child-care worker level 4, with two years qualifying and two years work experience, the


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