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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 1 July 2010) . . Page.. 3198 ..


How are they going to gear up to be ready for 2012? What will be the impact on childcare centres of having to make arrangements for new space requirements, changing their staff-child ratios? What impact will that have? What impact will the government’s portable long service leave scheme have on the cash flows of these and other organisations? What are the factors that will drive up childcare costs? What is the impact of things like the changes to the subsidies from the commonwealth which are now frozen at $7,500? What is the impact of all sorts of government regulations which we have all seen that are driving up the costs?

What does Ms Burch do? Every time you ask her she says, “Access Economics has done some modelling.” Access Economics has not modelled for the ACT. Access Economics has not modelled for how things are in the ACT. We have quite a different childcare structure to anyone else in the country and they have not modelled specifically on the ACT. Ms Burch does not know what will happen in 2012. Quite frankly, from her display here today and on other occasions it is clear that not only does she does not know but she does not care. She does not care that when people make decisions about childcare they are very difficult decisions indeed.

When the costs go up, mothers stay at home. That will have an impact on family incomes, it will have an impact on employment in the ACT and it will have an impact on skills in the ACT. A whole lot of those decisions are based on whether people can get good childcare at a reasonable price. Childcare is not inelastic. People will eventually move away from childcare if it is not worth their while to go to work, and Ms Burch, this minister, is doing nothing about this.

There we saw it again today. She sat in budget cabinet—I do not know whether she was awake—when they talked about the macroeconomic report into change of use charge. She did not notice, or no-one pointed out to her, that there is a tax of $10,000 a child. Every time a childcare centre wants to increase the number of children under its lease, there is a $10,000 tax. That will mean that every time, coming up to 2012(Time expired).

MR HARGREAVES (Brindabella) (10:35): Apart from my time in the chair, I have just sat here and listened to the debate. I have not actually taken part much, even though I did sit on the estimates committee and I have a reasonably intimate knowledge of the conversations that went on during that inquiry. I want to make a couple of points about this particular process with respect to the Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services.

What I have witnessed tonight is an absolute personal attack from Mr Hanson and Mrs Dunne on Minister Burch. There has been very little in the way of substance and a heck of a lot in the way of vehement, emotive language. There has been no substance. There has been hate-filled rhetoric and the same old same old that we have all come to expect from them. When they are short on substance, hysteria will do. They wave the finger around. That does not actually cut it.

When they are exposed as being a policy vacuum, what happens? They resort to vicious, vindictive and venomous language. That does not do anybody any good here. I have to say with respect to Mr Hanson’s diatribe on Mrs Burch that really he ought


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