Page 1938 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 14 May 2013
MADAM SPEAKER: Order, members! Mrs Jones has asked a question; she deserves an answer.
MS BURCH: the attention she was after in her question. As I said, about 20 or 25 per cent of the services have been assessed, so we are a long way from getting a true picture of the services here in the ACT. It does come up regularly. Following ROGS, it does come up—the cost of ACT compared to other states. We also provide to the opposition that we are a city-state, with the cost of an urban base provision. When you look at costs compared to New South Wales, they are taking regional, remote and rural areas as well, and that does have the potential to unbalance the cost. But I also make mention that around 80 per cent of our long day cares are community organisations. These are not-for-profit organisations that run for the benefit of the community. And we have also done a test—not so much a test: a review—of services and their cost, a couple of years ago now. (Time expired.)
MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mrs Jones.
MRS JONES: Minister, why are the government’s past budget initiatives failing to assist the childcare sector to meet the requirements of the national quality framework which your government so readily imposed onto the sector?
MS BURCH: Our investment is supporting the local childcare sector. We are supporting it by building new services and by putting significant numbers of dollars into the upgrade of government-owned, community-based services. We are supporting the workforce through scholarships. There is absolutely no truth, I have to say, Mrs Jones, in saying that this government is not supporting the sector.
Before I was cut off, because I got distracted by an earlier slip of the tongue, about 18 months ago we looked at all the services and their daily rate—those that met the coming requirements as far as workforce to child ratio, those that were community based, those that were not community based and those that were paying rent and had all the operative costs of a private company. There was no difference between the costs. Perhaps it is just, in many ways, what it costs here. I have a lot of confidence and a lot of regard for the services that look after our sons and daughters here in Canberra. I think all of us should give them the regard that they deserve.
DR BOURKE: My question is to the Minister for Education and Training. Minister, can you inform the Assembly how the government is combating vandalism at ACT schools?
MS BURCH: I do thank Dr Bourke for his question. It is a sad reality that our schools are, from time to time, the subject of vandalism, damage and theft. To help combat this, the government has put in place a number of strategies to reduce vandalism. We have built strong relationships with local communities to involve them in the