Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 01 Hansard (Tuesday, 9 February 2010) . . Page.. 66 ..
investment in keeping our children safe. Through the 2009-10 budget, we directed $20.770 million to early intervention initiatives, which includes the highly successful child and family centres. This Labor government has invested in early intervention by opening two child and family centres, in Tuggeranong and Gungahlin. They provide a range of services, including maternal and child health clinics, giving advice on child health, parenting issues, providing immunisations and speech therapy, physiotherapy, drop-in services, parenting programs and play groups. I am pleased to say that the government will open a third centre, at west Belconnen, later this year, which will further complement the work of the other two successful centres.
In addition, we provide significant funds to key government partners providing family support and youth services to vulnerable families, children and young people through my department. This government is delivering on its commitment to working across our community and with families to keep our children as safe as possible.
MRS DUNNE: Supplementary question, Mr Speaker.
MR SPEAKER: Mrs Dunne, a supplementary.
MRS DUNNE: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, why is it the case that the Productivity Commission’s review of government services shows that over the reporting period of the 2008-09 report real terms spending on care and protection fell from $39 million to $31 million and that per child expenditure fell from $514 to $396?
MS BURCH: Thank you, Mrs Dunne, for the opportunity to again talk about the investment of this government in childcare and protection. I am not quite sure what Mrs Dunne has not heard, but the budget that we are putting into child protection includes online childhood protection, support to community groups and investment in early intervention and prevention. We are sitting on an investment of over $44 million. In regard to the ROGS report, I just want to remind those here, and perhaps Mrs Dunne if she cares to read, that the accounting rules associated—this is from the report—with the inclusion in the report on government services are complex. That is perhaps why you have not got there. It is noted in the report itself, for example, on page 1513, that:
In the area of child protection there are differences across jurisdictions in the calculation of expenditure
The scope of child protection systems also varies across jurisdictions and expenditure on services may be included for some jurisdictions whilst not others.
This—I will join the dots for you—can lead to some variations in comparison. This government does not step away from its need, its desire and the priority of caring for the children and vulnerable in our community, which is why we have significant investments in the child protection system.
MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Porter?