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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 10 February 2010) . . Page.. 225 ..


refuse to budge. But here is an opportunity for Ms Burch to actually stand up and say, “Let’s find a solution and let’s find it quickly,” so that in a year’s time Gumnut will be open and for the 12 months leading up to that time there will be some certainty.

Instead, there are 50 families in Belconnen that are anxious about their kids’ futures, that are currently calling around and trying to look at other options for childcare. Again, that puts more stress on the actual child and the actual family. It puts stress on the staff. What happens to the staff in the next 12 months if they get offered a job in two months or three months? Quite frankly, if I was in their position I would be very tempted to take it, because there is no certainty.

There are a lot of questions that need to be answered and a lot of people and families at stake. The minister has an opportunity to resolve the matter, yet her stubbornness is seemingly insurmountable.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (5.27): I want to dwell on the amendment that Ms Burch has put forward, which the Liberal Party will be opposing. It is interesting to see that Ms Burch has learnt a few lessons from her colleagues in relation to amendments—that when a motion comes forward the first thing you have to do is delete all words after “that” and substitute your own words. Ms Burch, in substituting your own words, you are supposed to nullify all the things that were in the original motion. It is interesting to look at subparagraphs (1)(a), (b), (c) and (d) of Ms Burch’s amendment as they are somewhat similar to the sentiments in the original motion. She also calls on her own government to do something. That is in there as well.

Now we get to the nitty-gritty part. Paragraph (2) of the motion requires the Stanhope government and Ms Burch in particular, as the minister responsible for childcare, to do something for the people at the Gumnut childcare centre. First of all, she has to explain why they need to go. Mr Coe has touched on this issue. They have been told that they need to go, but there has been no explanation given. In fact, in November last year the Gumnut childcare centre wrote to Ms Burch—I have a copy of the letter here and I would be happy to table it—after Ms Burch wrote to them on 25 November. I am sorry, there was a mistake in our press release; we put 25 October rather than 25 November. However, that does not nullify the fact that you gave them short shrift; your letter gave them short shrift.

When they responded to you, they asked you a series of questions which to this day go unanswered. Ms Burch has not answered that letter. She says she has taken it on notice. It will be a long time, it seems, before they get an answer. Today we are seeing Ms Burch trying to squib the whole thing. She does not want to provide a service to the Gumnut childcare centre. She does not want to provide them with certainty.

Ms Burch: No. So you’d rather displace the preschool children and leave Gumnut in place? Is that your answer, Mrs Dunne?

MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Ms Le Couteur): Mrs Dunne has the floor.

MRS DUNNE: Thank you, Madam Assistant Speaker. There has been no explanation as to why there is suddenly a need to take over the preschool places at Evatt, which


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