Page 5199 - Week 14 - Wednesday, 18 November 2009

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measures in place to address the problem. All states and territories are attempting to develop sustainable solutions to antisocial behaviour and most, including the ACT, have developed a two-pronged approach which involves both action to address the underlying causes of problem behaviour and the use of sanctions to support and protect the wider community.

Some of the strategies used across jurisdictions include specialist officers, probationary tenancies, memorandums of understanding with other agencies and acceptable behaviour agreements. The ACT employs specialist officers and utilises memorandums of understanding with other agencies, such as the Australian Federal Police, and also general orders through the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal. Further work on the issue is being progressed nationally as part of the reform measures associated with the national affordable housing agreement.

Yesterday Mrs Dunne asked a question about childcare fees and quoted me as having said:

I would imagine the cost of living would result in increased costs.

She asked:

Minister, have childcare costs increased at a faster rate than the cost of living and, if so, what factors have driven this increase?

My response is that the consumer price index for Canberra as a measure of the cost of living shows in the September 2009 quarter that there has been an average increase of 2.6 per cent per annum over five years. The report on government services shows that the average fees charged by childcare services increased by around 6.5 per cent per annum between 2004 and 2008. When the subsidies related to childcare are taken into account, the Australian Bureau of Statistics childcare index shows that there has been a relative decrease in the cost of childcare over the past five years. The childcare costs index provided by the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows a decrease in the cost of childcare in comparison to the cost of living.

In a supplementary, Mrs Dunne asked what advice or modelling the department has done on the impact on childcare fees of the government policy on portable long service leave. My response is that the government engaged an independent actuary during the policy development of the scheme to identify the potential cost of implementing the scheme. The actuary report identified that a contribution of 1.67 per cent of each employee’s wage would be required to support the scheme. This is the same provision for each employee required under the current Long Service Leave Act 1976.

The introduction of the Long Service Leave (Community Sector) Amendment Bill 2009 will not change the requirements for organisations, including childcare centres, to make provisions for long service leave for their employees as required under the current act. The new scheme will not require organisations to increase provisions that they were previously required to pay under the Long Service Leave Act 1976. The government does not anticipate that the introduction of the scheme will result in increased costs over the long term.

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