Page 1376 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 9 April 2013

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many children and has added flexibility to accommodate the needs of families who might need vacation, overnight or casual hours. As the government plans for future support of the childcare sector, it will be important not to forget the family day care sector which, while mostly federally funded, could benefit from organisational support and access to training.

In closing, the ACT Greens strongly believe in the importance of good investment in the early education and childcare sector and we recognise the lifelong benefits that such an investment can bring to the life of a child and their family. We will continue to support the role that government has to play in the delivery of these investments.

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) (4.09): The ACT government is implementing a range of measures aimed at supporting services to continually improve and sustain the growth and development of the early education and child sector. The ACT government has, indeed—and it is on record and it is a reality—increased the number of places available for child care in early education settings, in long day care and in the family day care environment. We have increased choice for families.

That is in stark contrast to the opposition. Despite your rhetoric over there when you stood up with, I assume, your education spokesperson hat on, Mr Doszpot, the Canberra Liberals through you have not delivered a single policy, not a word, not a dollar, to support Canberra families in early education and care. That is the record. The Canberra Liberals have come into this place and have put on record the notion of a centralised waiting list for child care, which was unanimously derided by the sector, and nothing has come into this place in the form of policy since then.

We as a government are continually looking at measures to support Canberra families. Indeed, as Dr Bourke noted, since Labor has been in government, the number of available childcare places has grown to over 8,300, and the government’s $9 million recent commitment to education and care capital upgrades is continuing to progress. Thirty-three additional places have recently become available in Charnwood and Braddon. A further 116 places are expected to be created in government-owned facilities between 2013 and 2014, and additional places will be created in the suburbs of Campbell, Narrabundah, Greenway, Fyshwick and Forrest. New centres and extensions of existing centres will assist in meeting the demand for education and care places and reduce pressure on affordability.

The ACT government supports education and care providers to establish new centres through the direct sale of land and advisory support during the planning and regulation approval processes. Providers of new services planned for Canberra have consulted with the ACT government to develop their plans. New centres in the suburbs of Giralang, Holt, Holder, Taylor, Crace and Gungahlin are expected to create an additional 550 places in 2013 and 2014.

As important as they are, the bricks and mortar are not enough; they are only effective if there are qualified and supportive workers to greet these children every morning.

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