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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 10 February 2010) . . Page.. 208 ..


(d) the lack of support provided by the Government to the Gumnut Place Child Care Centre to find long-term accommodation; and

(e) the failure of the Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services to provide an assurance to the 50 families and 12 staff at the Gumnut Place Child Care Centre that it has a long-term future in the ACT; and

(2) calls on the Government to:

(a) explain to the community why the ACT has the most expensive childcare services in the country;

(b) explain why the Gumnut Place Child Care Centre has to be displaced from its present accommodation which it has occupied since 1993;

(c) immediately provide an assurance to the 50 families and 12 staff of the Gumnut Place Child Care Centre that it will provide support to the Centre to find suitable long-term accommodation from 2011 onwards;

(d) immediately investigate options for suitable long-term accommodation for the Centre; and

(e) provide support to the Centre to move to new long-term accommodation should the need arise.

Childcare is a front-of-line issue for a large number of Canberra families with children, particularly where there is more than one breadwinner in the family, be that a part-time or a full-time breadwinner. The figures that we have seen over the last few months indicate that childcare is becoming an increasingly troublesome issue for people in the ACT.

We have seen the poor performance of the ACT government in relation to childcare services in that childcare services in the ACT are the most expensive in the country on a median basis. And this is in a town where nearly 80 per cent—79.4 per cent, I think—of all childcare providers are in the community sector. These are people who are price takers, not price setters.

They provide a service which is to some extent already—and I am not using this as a criticism of the sector—subsidised by the ACT community in that many of the not-for-profit childcare organisations are in no-rent or low-rent facilities. They are not adding into the cost of childcare in the ACT the hefty cost of accommodation that the for-profit organisations have to take on board. It does show that, while we have the highest median cost of childcare in the country, it could be higher if the mix in the community was different and if the for-profit sector had to pay to build a centre, pay for the borrowings and the opportunity costs of running a centre and if those costs were factored in to a greater extent than they are.

The central thrust of the motion today is not about the overall childcare system in the ACT, important as that is, but about the plight of one individual childcare centre, the


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