Page 612 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 22 February 2012

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Ms Gallagher interjecting—

MR SPEAKER: Ms Gallagher, thank you. You have the floor.

Mr Hanson: Mr Speaker, on a point of order, you have spoken to Ms Gallagher about repeatedly speaking to the opposition, addressing her comments to the opposition. She has been doing it throughout question time—asking us questions, debating the issue and then making catty comments when she sits down. I would ask that you would consider a similar level of consistency with the minister’s behaviour as you do with the opposition.

MR SPEAKER: Thank you. Ms Gallagher, I think you can confine your remarks to the things that are in your bailiwick and not the opposition’s, thank you.

MS GALLAGHER: I will try, Mr Speaker. The community sector, on the evening of the budget at a forum, asked me this exact question. So that is no surprise to anyone. I am not sure why it warrants a special markdown on the “Brendan Smyth notebook of important facts discovered in the Assembly” page, but I removed it because we had no understanding at the time the budget was put together about what the total cost of that project actually was. That is the work that we have been doing. We will have that answer and appropriate appropriations will be made in accordance with that detailed work.


MS PORTER: My question through you, Mr Speaker, is to the Minister for Community Services. Minister, regarding the recent report on childcare reforms in the ACT, are you aware of any evidence of the impact of the cost of childcare on the number of places available?

MS BURCH: I do thank Ms Porter for her question. This government is building on the quality childcare system that we have and investing in more places and assisting in keeping costs down. This is what hardworking Canberra families deserve. The quality of childcare being provided is not in dispute. As one commentator has recently said, there is no doubt that we have good quality childcare. It is worth noting who that commentator was—Mrs Dunne. I think it is a very good quote. Here we have on record that Mrs Dunne finally recognises the quality of service that we have in our education and care sector.

While there has been a lot said about the national childcare reforms, there has also been much scaremongering about their impact on the cost and the number of places. I am pleased to say that a recent survey has shown a much clearer picture, with a net growth of childcare places in 2012 and minimal cost increases.

In December and January my directorate contacted 108 services providing long day care to test how the sector was moving to the national standards. They found that the number of places has increased by almost 200 for this year, and this is based on the survey alone. Many centres have not changed their fees, and, for to those that have,

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