Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 10 February 2010) . . Page.. 128 ..
Things have gone backwards under this government. The service delivery from this government can easily be summed up now. The ACT Labor government’s approach to service delivery has been that Canberrans pay more and we get less. The question now for the government is contained in the last part of this motion. We want a response. We want more of a response than we would expect to get from the Chief Minister, which will be denial. He will claim that we are getting the best service in the nation when the Productivity Commission have actually blown the whistle on that argument. They have put a spotlight on those claims. On any reckoning, in those key service delivery areas, they have given this government a fail mark.
We would say this to the ACT Labor government: what are you going to do about it? How are you going to put in place policies that will put downward pressure on childcare fees? How are you going to put in place policies that will make it more affordable for people to buy a home? How are you going to cut the longest elective surgery waiting times in the nation? These are the questions for this government to answer. This is what we would expect to hear from the Chief Minister when he gets to his feet. I expect, unfortunately, though, that what we will hear is a lot of denial. These are serious issues. The Productivity Commission has given ACT Labor a fail for 8½ years. Things have gone backwards. It did not need to be this way.
MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Minister for Transport, Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Land and Property Services, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs and Minister for the Arts and Heritage) (10.27): The report on government services was released by the Productivity Commission in January this year. To that extent I agree with Mr Seselja’s motion, but my agreement with those parts of the motion that are true and factual begins and ends there. Sadly, from that opening fact Mr Seselja descends immediately, and for 15 minutes, into a messy and flimsy tissue of cherry-picked factoids presented completely out of context—just simple, wishful fiction.
Mr Speaker, let us look at the confection of cherry-picking and distortion of facts that Mr Seselja calls a motion. Mr Seselja expresses alarm and dismay that Canberra has the highest childcare fees in any jurisdiction. What he does not mention, what context he does not provide, is that childcare fees in regional and rural areas are invariably lower than in cities, bringing down the average cost for most jurisdictions but penalising the ACT, a city state, which of course has no regional or remote areas or regional or remote childcare centres or facilities. A more accurate comparison of Canberra’s childcare fees could be made with similar sized cities like Newcastle. In fact, the cost of childcare in the ACT is lower than that in a number of large cities around Australia. But let us not let the facts get in the way of a factoid, Mr Seselja.
Here is another piece of information the Leader of the Opposition does not tell you in relation to childcare—that the funding provided by the ACT government for childcare is $632 per child against a national average of $353 per child. The contribution by the ACT government to childcare in the ACT is almost double the national average by the other states and the Northern Territory. That is a little bit of context in relation to the contribution by this government to childcare—$632 per child against a national