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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 26 August 2010) . . Page.. 4045 ..

MRS DUNNE: Minister, when will you acknowledge that the imposition of the federal government policy will make it more expensive for parents to have their children looked after during the day while they are at work?

MS BURCH: I think I have just said that Access Economics has provided modelling that shows an increase per week in 2012 and by 2015 which is nowhere near the scaremongering and the nonsense that is coming from those opposite.

Mr Seselja: So Child Care New South Wales is just scaremongering.

MRS DUNNE: A supplementary question, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mrs Dunne.

MRS DUNNE: Minister, what contingency plans have you put in place to ensure that the available places for childcare do not decline in the ACT in the event that childcare centres are forced to reduce their places to keep costs down?

MS BURCH: It is clear that those opposite—

Mr Hargreaves: On a point of order, Mr Speaker, the premise of Mrs Dunne’s supplementary is the hypothetical—that something may occur, yet there is no evidence being put forward that it will occur. It is a hypothetical supplementary and it should be ruled out of order.

Mrs Dunne: On the point of order, I asked the minister whether she had any contingency plans. It is not hypothetical.

Mr Hargreaves: On that point of order, Mr Speaker, the contingency plans were based on a hypothesis.

Mr Seselja: Mr Speaker, just further to it, if we were to take that to its logical conclusion, questions such as “how are you strengthening our economy to protect it from any future possible challenges” would be hypothetical. It is a ridiculous assertion. I ask you to allow the question to proceed.

MR SPEAKER: There is no point of order. I think that the question is quite consistent with questions regularly asked in this place. Minister Burch.

MS BURCH: I work and talk regularly with the childcare sector. We have increased childcare places by over 400 places just this year. That is on top of the 600-plus of last year. There were 800 vacancies in 2009 across over 100 centres. So clearly not every centre is full to capacity. There was an interjection from Mr Seselja on scaremongering. I quote from a media release from Early Childhood Australia who is the voice for young children. The Early Childhood Australia CEO says, “The claims are not based on solid evidence and are simply scaremongering.”

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