Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 2 Hansard (6 March) . . Page.. 650 ..
MS GALLAGHER (continuing):
In addition-and this will please every member of the Assembly-$950,000 is allocated to expand existing child-care centres across Canberra. Six services have been selected for expansion. These services are located in Charnwood, Kaleen, Civic, Curtin and-of particular interest to you, Ms MacDonald-Greenway and Conder.
I would like to acknowledge the importance of access to early childhood services for families and the significant contribution this experience makes to the lives and education of the young people who attend.
The Commonwealth government's discussion paper acknowledges that across Australia 56 per cent of preschool-aged children use long day care, 17 per cent use family day care and 2 per cent use occasional care. With these numbers of children requiring care, we cannot ignore the workplace issues which are impacting on the child-care industry.
On the subject of actions of the Commonwealth, it is noteworthy that since 1997 the Commonwealth has removed operational subsidies from child-care centres, which has seen the decline of many community-based centres in low socioeconomic areas. Some commentators say that reductions in funding have seen an $800 per child decrease over that time. Australia now spends 0.1 per cent of GDP on early educational care, ranking Australia, astonishingly, 26 out of 28 in the OECD. The unmet demand for child-care places nationally stands at around 50,000.
On a more positive note, recently the federal Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Mr Larry Anthony, released his consultation paper Towards the Development of a National Agenda for Early Childhood. Whilst we welcome this report, it should be noted that the report does not directly address or raise work force planning issues. However, I understand that the minister is hosting a think tank in April to discuss issues around work force planning, I have forwarded a copy of this report to his office as part of informing that debate, and we look forward to taking part in that national process.
Mr Stanhope: I ask that further questions be placed on the notice paper.
Mr Stanhope presented the following paper:
National Environment Protection Council Annual Report and financial statements, including the Australian National Audit Office Report, for 2001-2002.
National taxation equivalents regime-memorandum of understanding
Paper and statement by minister
MR QUINLAN (Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism and Minister for Sport, Racing and Gaming): For the information of members, I present the following paper:
National Taxation Equivalents Regime-Memorandum of understanding.