Page 158 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 28 November 2012
Locally, the ACT Greens are supportive of the ACT government’s policy to build more publicly funded community-based and not-for-profit childcare facilities. I will continue to support community-based responses to the needs of local families and their children, whatever their circumstances. It is clear, however, that the ACT needs to plan these centres strategically and in accordance with population movements. The Greens are committed to both the long-term sustainability of the sector and to providing more childcare spaces for our growing city. I will be maintaining an interest in the government’s progress on these issues and I welcome the contribution to the debates that Ms Berry will no doubt offer over the coming months and years.
With regard to Mr Hanson’s amendment, having just seen it I should probably make the observation at this point that I will not be supporting amendments, certainly lengthy and detailed ones like this, that are presented in the chamber. I think there is plenty of scope, since the administration and procedure meeting at lunchtime yesterday, for our offices to enter into a discussion. I would need to fact check some of the points that have been made in here and enter into some further discussions.
I should probably make it clear at this point that we all know how the election turned out. I am one member and I will not sit in this chamber and entertain detailed amendments like this that I have not seen before coming down here. I do not want that to be a difficulty in working together. It has been 24 hours now since this motion was circulated and it was being prepared prior to that, presumably. The Liberal Party will not have seen it because it is Ms Berry’s, but it has been 24 hours. I think that if we want to have serious discussions about entertaining amendments then we should do that in a serious time frame. That is not to preclude the fact that, of course, on the floor things will happen; that is quite decent. But this is clearly not something that was just knocked up on the floor. This has clearly had some thought. The fact that my office was not approached about this prior to the debate indicates that there was no serious scope to actually want to negotiate an amendment.
MS BURCH (Brindabella—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Disability, Children and Young People, Minister for the Arts, Minister for Women, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Minister for Racing and Gaming) (12.06): I congratulate the newest member for Ginninderra on introducing this motion and note that this is Ms Berry’s first piece of private members’ business. Welcome to the Assembly, Ms Berry.
This government has a long history of investment in education and care and the ACT Labor government has seen the education and care sector grow substantially over the past decade. We have delivered an increase of over 500 places in 2011-12 and we will provide an additional 500 places over 2012-13. We have overseen a 94 per cent growth in the number of childcare places since 2001 and a 33 per cent increase in the number of long day care places.
This is in stark contrast to the stagnation in investment prior to 2001 where under the Liberals there was no growth in long day care services between 1998 and 2001. I understand why Mr Hanson would see that as irrelevant. If I had that record, I would want to bury it about 10 feet down as well.