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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 18 August 2010) . . Page.. 3486 ..

funding for non-government schools. This is a serious issue for families here in the territory, with over 40 per cent of students being educated in the non-government sector. We want to see a public sector that thrives and a non-government sector that thrives.

But this policy that we are discussing today would not see that. It would see $60 million ripped out of the ACT non-government schools sector. What will that do to fees? What will that do to the family budgets of those tens of thousands of Canberra families who send their kids to non-government schools? This policy is a dangerous one for the territory. It is a dangerous one for the nation but it will be felt perhaps most keenly here in the ACT due to the high proportion of students who are educated in the non-government sector.

We happen to value that contribution. The Liberal Party value that contribution. We value the fact that it complements the very good work that is done in our public schools. We do not have hostility towards either sector, but what we see unfortunately in this policy is that the Greens do. They want to rip money out of the non-government school sector.

We also see policies that will affect childcare. The Greens say in their policies that they will end any form of subsidies to for-profit childcare operators. At the moment most childcare in the ACT is conducted by the community sector but 20 per cent is still in the for-profit sector, and ending any subsidies presumably means ending the tax rebate. So families who send their kids to for-profit childcare centres will get no tax rebate, because that is a subsidy to the for-profit sector. That is the Greens’ policy.

We have seen the childcare ratios already going down. Now what they want to do is have carer to child ratios of at least one to three for children up to two years old and one to four for children older than two years. You cannot get around the fact that that comes at a significant cost. We might all want to have one to two or one to one in a perfect world, but how much will it actually cost? We know that Canberra families already pay more for childcare than anyone else in the country. The Labor Party has attacked them through the changes to the rebate, through capping that rebate. Many Canberra families are disadvantaged by that policy. And now what we have from the Greens is a policy to actually significantly push up the costs of childcare.

So in these three critical areas that are of significant consequence to family budgets, we see Greens policies that will push up costs. In the case of education, they will push up the cost of educating a child. They will push up school fees. They will also put more pressure on the public education system. In the area of private health, the cutting of the 30 per cent rebate that the Greens propose will mean that Canberra families who pay for private health care will pay at least 30 per cent more. So an ordinary Canberra family that has school fees to pay will pay maybe $1,000 per child more, that has private health will pay 30 per cent more and that has a child in childcare will pay significantly more. What does that mean for the family budget? It means that families will be stretched. These policies will hurt families in Canberra more than anywhere else in the country.

We have not heard much from Lin Hatfield Dodds on this plan. We have not heard why she believes it is a good idea to raise school fees, to raise the cost of private

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