Page 1559 - Week 04 - Thursday, 7 April 2011

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MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Hargreaves.

MR HARGREAVES: Thanks very much. My supplementary to the minister is: what experience in your former life in childcare would actually enable you to know about the vagaries and the difficulties facing childcare centres regarding behavioural issues in children?

MS BURCH: Thank you, Mr Hargreaves, for that question. There are fantastic childcare professionals here in the ACT that care for children each and every day of the week, and they provide a fantastic service and support to Canberra families. Yes, I did own and operate a childcare centre. But as a parent I also have experience in managing difficult behaviours, as I am sure every family does with their children. We are all aware of the “terrible twos”; that is within a family context, but it is also within a service context.

The regulations provide clear guidance. Our professional childcare sector here in the ACT are well aware of the standards and are very comfortable with their implementation.

Environment—Asian honey bee

MS LE COUTEUR: My question is to the Minister for Territory and Municipal Services and concerns the Asian honey bee. Minister, as the ACT’s representative on the Primary Industries Ministerial Council, are you aware of the extensive scientific evidence presented to the recent Senate inquiry that the Asian honey bee can have serious implications in cold temperate climates like Canberra’s, especially on biodiversity and the environment?

MR STANHOPE: Thank you, Ms Le Couteur. I am aware of the risk which the Asian honey bee represents, most particularly to fauna, within Australia. It has been a very difficult issue—it has been problematic; it has been an issue that has been considered at some length by most particularly agriculture ministers from around Australia. The decision has been taken, and I am sure you are aware of it, that an eradication program is not feasible. There is recognition always of the implications for native fauna and indeed our environment when exotic species are introduced or find their way into Australia. The Asian honey bee is one such exotic species that has established in Australia, and it is a matter of significant concern particularly to the rural sector.

Based on scientific advice the decision has been taken that it is not practical or possible to seek to contain the Asian honey bee through a structured eradication program. It is a matter of enormous regret, but the advice that has been accepted by all governments across Australia is that there is no prospect of successfully combating incursions of Asian honey bees.

Ms Le Couteur: On a point of order, Mr Speaker, I specifically asked whether the minister could comment on the evidence at the recent Senate inquiry.

Opposition members interjecting

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