Page 2440 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 29 June 2005

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We will be having a partial implementation of this program, starting in July of this year, where we will have more than 30 preschools across the ACT moving to the 12 hours a week. That will be across geographical areas and it will be a mixture of two longer days a week or three longer sessions a week, depending on the needs of families. This is to try to establish the level of demand for two days a week, the long two days a week over 9.00 am to 3.00 pm, and make sure that when we roll out the full implementation we will be able, as much as possible, to meet the needs of those families.

Mr Speaker, if there are families that are concerned about the increase in preschool hours—that is, they think that 10½ hours of preschool is enough for their children—the option remains for them to continue to access the 10½ hours per week but for those families that are keen to have it the extra 1½ hours will be available. It has taken a lot of implementation. There have been some industrial relations issues that we have needed to look at in recognition of the way that the preschool teachers’ certified agreement operates, the hours of work and how relief arrangements are provided for them, but we have managed to work though all of those with the support of the AEU, teachers and the preschool society.

It is not as simple as it sounds to increase the hours from 10½ to 12 a week. There has been a lot of work done, but we are well on track to commence this program in July across just under half of our preschools and there will be full implementation, as I said, from 2006 and, as much as possible, we will meet the needs of families in terms of their preference for two days of longer hours or three longer sessions per week.

Planning guidelines

MR SESELJA: Mr Speaker, my question to the Minister for Planning relates to his failure to prepare A10 core area guidelines, despite his commitment to do so prior to the last election. Minister, in notifiable instrument NI-2004-370, which is your direction to ACTPLA to prepare core area guidelines, your letter to Mr Savery, the Chief Planning Executive, dated 9 September 2004, states:

Before giving the direction I considered the Authority’s comments on my proposed direction, as required under section 12 of the Act.

Minister, in response to a freedom of information request, the authority stated on 27 May 2005 that, in relation to comments on your proposed direction:

The Authority made no comment on the direction. Therefore, no documents exist.

Minister, if the ACT Planning and Land Authority made no comments on your proposed direction, how could you consider their comments?

MR CORBELL: Mr Speaker, I had a verbal discussion with the authority—that is, with the Chief Planning Executive. The Chief Planning Executive is the authority for the purposes of the act. I had a discussion with him about his views on my proposed direction. I took those into account in making a direction.

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