Page 412 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 12 February 2013

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The record is just as bad for civil cases, with the figures for cases pending for more than 12 months being particularly alarming—50 per cent for non-appeal matters and 36 per cent for appeal cases. The Magistrates Court fares a little better across both its criminal and civil jurisdictions.

These are high-level indicators. Nonetheless they reveal cause for ongoing concern in the courts system in the ACT. It is about time that the government understood the frustration of people in our community who have to wait years for justice to be delivered. It is about time that this government saw the plight of people accused of crimes, often languishing in remand, having to wait up to two years for their cases to be heard. There was a case reported on the news last night where a person had been sentenced for a crime but their non-parole period almost equalled the time that they had already been on remand—over two years—and they were likely to be released when their non-parole period came up within the month. That person was not rehabilitated during their period in jail because remand services do not extend to rehabilitation. And that person was on remand for over two years.

It is about time that this government was honest and not spin-doctoring the data that is presented by the Productivity Commission. It is about time that this government took the bull by the horns and really focused on solutions rather than stop-gaps.

I will turn briefly to the issue of child care. It is one that is close to my heart. In the Chief Minister’s media release she boasted that the number of childcare centres in Canberra had increased since 2007-08, which is not necessarily the result of government initiatives. Most of those are private or not-for-profit places.

The bottom line, as I have said many times before in this place, is that the cost of child care in the ACT is still the highest in Australia. This year’s ROGS shows a further increase and shows that Canberra families pay $69 per week more than the national average for child care, which is comparable to what it was last year and is fully $40 higher than the next highest jurisdiction, which is New South Wales.

For the benefit of Minister Burch, this equates to about 10 cups of coffee a week. Minister Burch likes to equate things to cups of coffee. If you have a couple of kids, you can double the number of cups of coffee you forgo each week. For the benefit of the Chief Minister, $40 a week is almost three times the weekly cost of the basic Foxtel subscription. I imagine the number of baristas around town and Foxtel in this town will be declining as a result of families having to turn off Foxtel and not buying a cup of coffee because of the spiralling cost of child care in this place.

The federal Liberal Party has promised to review the costs of the national quality framework for child care introduced by the federal government and adopted almost blindly by this minister. The federal Liberal Party has the guts to review the costs. The Labor Party, on the other hand, simply washes its hands by saying that childcare costs are not its responsibility.

I thank you, Mr Assistant Speaker, for bringing forward this matter of public importance today. I think that between us we have highlighted just a few of the areas where this ACT Labor-Greens coalition government is failing the people of Canberra.

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