Page 325 - Week 01 - Thursday, 16 February 2012

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MRS DUNNE: Minister, what are you doing to bring ACT childcare costs more into line with the national average?

MS BURCH: This gives me an opportunity to provide to those opposite information about the reforms and the supports that we are providing to the sector. We have on the table $9 million to support infrastructure upgrades across a number of services. That will bring online about 170-plus places. We have close on $800,000 in scholarships on the table directly into the hands of the workforce so they can get their certificate III. None of that is coming from those opposite. The only thing from them is a waiting list that no-one in the sector wants. I do not know what a waiting list will do to increase childcare places. What would a waiting list do—

Mrs Dunne: Point of order, Mr Speaker. Again, relevance, Mr Speaker. The question is: what is the minister doing to bring childcare costs more into line with the national average? Again, a critique of the Canberra Liberals’ policy is not an answer to the question.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, minister, let us focus on your answer to the question.

MS BURCH: Well, the ACT Labor Party will not be implementing a waiting list because it will add no value to the cost of childcare. But, again, adding on—

Mrs Dunne: On a point of order, Mr Speaker—

MR SPEAKER: At this point I imagine I know where you are about to go, but the minister is now saying what the Labor Party’s position is. She is skating on the edge, but we will see how we go. Minister Burch.

MS BURCH: Thank you, Mr Speaker. There is the $9 million on the table directly into services for infrastructure. That is on top of the $800,000 directly into the hands of the workforce, predominantly a female workforce, to support them to get training. That is on top of the five blocks of land that we are releasing to the private sector, and I think Mrs Dunne actually said we should help the private sector, so I am sure you will think that is a good idea. That is on top of a new centre at Holder. (Time expired.)

Children and young people—children, youth and family support program

MS HUNTER: My question is to the Minister for Children and Young People and relates to the children, youth and family support program. Minister, at the CYFSP planning day on 9 November 2011 the model for the information engagement and coordination service, or the central intake service, was presented. Subsequently, concerns about the referral processes have been raised and described as “lengthy and complicated referral processes that may result in multiple assessments and significant waiting times for clients in receiving access to services”.

Minister, can you advise how children, young people and families will receive timely access to services that they feel comfortable with and choose to access that will not require multiple assessments and that will provide them with seamless community supports?

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