Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 26 August 2010) . . Page.. 4082 ..
promised by the government. I note that they will spend $4 million on Flynn primary, but we need to be clear that that is not increasing the number of places in any substantive way; that is simply a replacement of existing places, I think in Gumnut, if that is correct—
Mrs Dunne: And Alkira.
MR HANSON: And Alkira. It does not increase any positions. The minister said in her statement today that we will be seeing new places in Molonglo and Holt, but my understanding is that the election promise was that this would be delivered in this term of government. I would be very interested to see whether the new childcare in Molonglo will be delivered within this term of government, given that there is no-one living in Molonglo, and there will not be for a period of time. We will certainly keep our eyes on that. We will make sure that the government are held to account and make sure that they deliver on what they promised and that we do not see any spin, as this government attempted in terms of the Flynn site, where the numbers were being twisted to try and indicate that they were delivering on a promise when that was not actually the case.
Obviously it is a complex area. There is a need to improve the way that we do business. One of the areas is about keeping data on waiting lists, modelling fees and basically keeping an eye on how the industry is performing and where it is at.
The Canberra Liberals do have a solution to this. Mr Seselja announced in his budget reply speech that the Canberra Liberals are calling on the government to immediately develop a master plan for childcare in the ACT. We believe that this is necessary, as the industry in the ACT is in for some dramatic changes at the end of 2011, especially around ratio changes. The full effects of that are yet to be mapped out and fully understood, but the impact, particularly on the smaller centres, is likely to be quite dramatic.
I reiterate my support for an affordable and accessible childcare system in the ACT and I again thank Mrs Dunne for bringing this important matter forward to the Legislative Assembly.
MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (4.07): I am pleased to be able to speak on this important topic today that Mrs Dunne has raised—that is, affordable, accessible childcare in the ACT being a the matter of public importance, and indeed it is. The ACT government is always committed to ensuring the ACT delivers quality childcare, and the work this government does in the regulation of childcare services and our commitment to the implementation of the national quality childcare agenda confirms this.
The national quality agenda childcare reforms were agreed to by the Council of Australian Governments in December 2009 and will involve the introduction of a number of improvements to childcare, including new staff to child ratios and new qualification requirements. These are positive changes that will commence in 2012 and 2014. What this means on the ground is that the baseline standards of qualified staff will improve across the ACT and staff to children ratios will be improved, particularly in the zero to two-year-old population.