Page 5192 - Week 14 - Wednesday, 18 November 2009

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At the end of the day, every single year there were hundreds of complaints around the illegal use of fireworks—serious complaints around the illegal use of fireworks—that the government has a responsibility to respond to. I note that in the heat of the election climate many of you opposite took the opportunity to beat up the government for being weak on fireworks and proposed that we ban them. In fact, I think you took that to the election. Then, all of a sudden, because it is not an election climate now, and it is a little more convenient for you, you change your position.

The reality of the community response and community concerns has not changed since I have been in this place. That is what the government is responding to with the move to ban fireworks. I hope that this Assembly disallows the disallowance motion tomorrow.


MR COE: My question is to the Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services and it relates to childcare fees and the government’s policy to provide for portable long service leave in the childcare sector. Minister, yesterday in answer to a question without notice you stated that childcare fees are “not something that we can influence”. Minister, do you agree that government regulation influences childcare fees?

MS BURCH: I thank Mr Coe for the question. Indeed, I have been surprised this week that the light-load liberals are, indeed, showing such interest in my department. The government’s role in childcare is around licensing, regulation and monitoring childcare standards The determination of fees put in place by a childcare centre is a matter for the childcare centre. It is not a matter for us; it is a matter of what they determine on their own business model.

A report identified that a contribution of 1.67 of each employee’s wage would be required to support the portable long service scheme. This is the same provision that each employee required under the current long service leave scheme. So portable long service leave is an entitlement for every worker. I remind you that you actually have no regard for workers’ rights. We do not think that portable long service leave will impact on—

Mr Barr: It is a payment that should be being made, anyway. It is a legal requirement to make it.

MS BURCH: It is a payment that should be made. It is a liability for organisations. It is a liability for the centre. The ACT government is around regulation and standards. The fee setting is a responsibility for the sector itself.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Coe?

MR COE: Minister, what practical support will the government provide to childcare centres to accommodate any significant costs due to the implementation of the portability of long service leave policy for the sector’s employees?

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