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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 10 February 2010) . . Page.. 181 ..

MR DOSZPOT: Minister, what analysis has the ACT government done of relative childcare costs for the ACT as compared to elsewhere in Australia?

MS BURCH: Again, I will go back to this morning, when we did provide information on the comparative cost of childcare in other centres. We can look at childcare costs in Sydney, which range from $375 to $522. In Wollongong and Newcastle, their range for the weekly cost of childcare is $300 to $375. That compares with our cost in the ACT of $325. We also spoke this morning about the increase in the provision of childcare places. In 2009, we put 666 childcare places in; this year, we will put in an extra 460 childcare places.

We continue to invest in childcare. The ACT is spending $632 per child from birth to 12 years of age. We went through it this morning. I am quite happy to provide a briefing for you. This government works closely with the sector. We have a children’s services forum, with people from the sector and people from the department. We work together on how we manage childcare places across the ACT. I am quite happy to explain that to you any time that you want a briefing, Mr Doszpot.

ACT Ambulance Service

MR HARGREAVES: My question without notice is to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services. Will the minister please inform the Assembly about the challenges facing the ACT Ambulance Service in the local community and how the service is overcoming these?

MR CORBELL: I thank Mr Hargreaves for the question. It is the case that the ACT Ambulance Service is facing very significant growth as our population continues to age. To give members a bit of a view on this, in the 2008-09 financial year, the Ambulance Service attended over 32,000 incidents involving over 34,000 responses. To put that perhaps into something more tangible, that is the equivalent of 90 incidents every 24 hours over that period. That is a very significant workload for our Ambulance Service.

We have a very high quality ambulance service here in the ACT, thanks to the training and the dedication of our ambulance personnel. We are the only ambulance service in the country where all of the intensive care ambulances are staffed by intensive care paramedics. We are the only ambulance service in the country where that is the standard, and it is one that delivers a very high quality of service to the Canberra community.

There is no doubt we are facing some very particular pressures: 10 per cent growth on average into the Ambulance Service in terms of demand every year, year on year. The government acknowledges that this is putting significant pressure on our ambulance officers, and the government is committed, and I am committed as the minister, to continue to work to improve the operations of our Ambulance Service and to continue to put in place additional resources for our Ambulance Service to help meet that demand. That is going to be an ongoing task, not just this year but each and every year into the future as we continue to see growth in demand for services.

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