Page 3907 - Week 09 - Thursday, 25 August 2011

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the loss of 12,000 jobs in Canberra do to Canberra families? I ask the Leader of the Opposition to table the letter that he claims to have written.

Canberra—community facilities

MS PORTER: My question is to the Minister for Community Services. Minister, how has the ACT government invested in community facilities to make Canberra a more liveable and sustainable city?

MS BURCH: I thank Ms Porter for her question. The ACT government believes that access to quality community facilities is an important part of making Canberra a more liveable and sustainable city. This is why the government has invested significantly in a broad spectrum of community facilities.

In April, I announced an early childhood education package of over $60 million that will increase the number of long day care places across the ACT to assist existing childcare centres to expand and transition to the new national standards. Included in the package is the construction of the Franklin early childhood school and the Holder early childhood centre, which will deliver about 240 additional childcare places. As part of the package, childcare centres in community facilities will be upgraded through an investment of $9 million to assist them transition to the new national standards and provide a better quality service and extra childcare places where they are needed most.

In addition to this, the government have allocated $4 million to provide a childcare centre as part of the Flynn community centre and we have provided a further $4 million to Flynn for a community hub. We have also invested $350,000 to upgrade the Baringa centre to provide an additional 24 places.

Other community facilities have also been improved. The government has committed around $30 million to work on the former school sites and two greenfield sites known as the regional community facilities project. This project is providing 39 non-government, not-for-profit organisations with affordable premises to deliver their services to local communities.

Two neighbourhood halls were built at Bonython and Griffith as part of the project. These halls, together with the neighbourhood halls and other community meeting spaces incorporated into the community hubs, are acting as focal points and venues for families and social groups to meet.

Just over $8 million has been invested in the third of this government’s family centres at west Belconnen, which offers vital access to early learning activities, play group and parental courses and other important support such as maternal, child health and allied health services. The centre will improve services for families in west Belconnen and ensure that children in the ACT have the best possible start in life. The centre is based on the successful child and family centre models in Gungahlin and Tuggeranong and will offer outreach programs to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families. It also has a sustainable energy showcase, which makes it one of the most sustainable child and family centres in Australia.

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