Page 5083 - Week 14 - Tuesday, 17 November 2009
MS GALLAGHER: I would not accept that there has been mismanagement. We have a process underway that the Assembly has agreed to in terms of analysing the total cost of the project. Of course, through those processes, you will learn from mistakes; you will learn better ways of providing information to the public. But I do not think a public information campaign around the territory’s largest infrastructure project should be stopped just because a project has had some controversy around the cost of it. The information is about what is going on, what we are trying to do and letting the community know, as opposed to just individuals that are engaged actively in this debate, about the work that is being undertaken out at Cotter. It is a much-loved part of our community, and there is going to be a significant piece of construction happening out there. I think people need to understand what that is about and why we are doing it.
MS BRESNAN: Supplementary, Mr Speaker.
MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Bresnan.
MS BRESNAN: Treasurer, are you concerned about the cost to taxpayers of Actew’s advertising campaign on the Cotter Dam project, given that the project cost has nearly tripled already?
MS GALLAGHER: As I said, I undertook to Ms Hunter to get the advertising component of Actew’s water security programs for the Assembly. My understanding is that there has not been a change in allocation for that budget—that this is part of something Actew does every day, whether it be through information campaigns about being water wise, water conservation messages or information about the program for water security.
I think there is a genuine role. Indeed, I think the government is often criticised for not providing enough public information. In this case, I think there is a genuine need on the part of our utility to provide that information to the community. In the overall cost of the dam, the $363 million, I think the public information campaign is a very, very, very small component.
MRS DUNNE: My question is to the Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services and relates to the cost of childcare in the ACT. Minister, you previously noted in the Assembly in relation to childcare fees:
I would imagine the cost of living would result in increased costs.
Minister, have childcare costs increased at a faster rate than the cost of living and, if so, what factors have driven this increase?
MS BURCH: I thank Mrs Dunne for the question. The costs for childcare services are a matter for childcare centres is my understanding. It is not something that we can influence or manufacture; so I will take that on notice.