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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 14 Hansard (Tuesday, 6 December 2011) . . Page.. 5712 ..

MS BURCH: I thank Mrs Dunne for her question. The Productivity Commission provides global information. It looks at national figures. It does not take into account the investment and work that we have done here in the ACT. It is also referring to figures that assume that the changes have come into effect, and does not refer to figures over a significant number of years and over time.

We have done work here in the ACT that looked at fees for service provision through centres that already meet the new qualifications, and there is no discernible difference. In fact, some of those services are cheaper than services that need to do more work to meet the regulations. It is also worth knowing that one of the largest providers in Australia is Goodstart Early Learning, which manages over 650 centres across Australia. Mrs Davison has said that for some Goodstart centres, the impost could be as little as $1 a day after federal government rebates and in some centres they may be out of pocket by $3. She rejected suggestions that parents could be forced to withdraw their children from quality centres. Indeed, she says that from her experience with her own centres, the increase that Mrs Dunne is referring to is just not their reality.

MRS DUNNE: A supplementary question, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mrs Dunne.

MRS DUNNE: Minister, when can Canberra families get a picture from government about the impacts of the changes and when will the government’s appreciation of the impacts start to reflect reality?

MS BURCH: I thank Mrs Dunne for her question again. We have worked with the sector over the last two years and have invested significant amounts of money. In workforce training we have put a scholarship scheme in place that will start to support workers from January next year to obtain a certificate III. We have also been working with the workforce about attaining degrees and diploma qualifications. We have brought five sites online to sell to private market to increase the access to childcare. We have put money into investing to build a new childcare centre in Holder and one in Franklin. These are all serious investments about supporting Canberra families. None of those investments have been supported by the Canberra Liberals.

We have also put in place upgrades across community service facilities that will see the increase of close to 180 places. That is a direct benefit to Canberra families. On the other side of the scale, what we have is the Canberra Liberals waiting list. For the life of me I cannot see how a waiting list will support a workforce, attract it, retain it—do those things. I do not understand how a common waiting list will increase the bricks and mortar of childcare—

Mrs Dunne: On a point of order, Mr Speaker, my supplementary question was about the impacts on Canberra families and how the government was going to transmit information to Canberra families. It was not about Liberal Party policy.

MR SPEAKER: Thank you, Minister Burch, if we can focus on the question at hand.

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