Page 291 - Week 01 - Thursday, 27 February 2014

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It is an organisation that I would want to see stay in Canberra. I am committed to making sure that they have the right accommodation and that we continue to partner with them effectively.

Child care—places

MS LAWDER: My question is to the minister for education. Minister, the Precious Momentz childcare centre is a longstanding childcare centre in Phillip. Due to circumstances with the new building owner evicting the centre on short notice, the childcare centre is now moving to Queanbeyan due to a lack of other options. This is leaving many parents stressed about finding child care for their children and the ACT losing a centre that we desperately need for child care. Minister, given statements you have made about your government’s support for child care in the ACT, what action has the government taken to assist and keep these childcare places in the ACT?

MS BURCH: I thank Ms Lawder for her question and recognition that this government indeed does provide significant support for child care. It has come to my attention recently that it is a private tenancy arrangement that Precious Momentz have had with the building owner. As I understand it, the owner has changed and they are seeking to vacate Precious Momentz. That has come to my attention recently, but I think Precious Momentz has been aware of that possibility for some time. Certainly, this week I have had some correspondence from a couple of families to see what we can do.

It is my understanding they have been offered temporary accommodation within the Phillip precinct. That is temporary and we will work with them. It is my understanding that Precious Momentz have made a decision to relocate to Queanbeyan. They are an independent organisation. They can make that decision. I am not aware of the reasons for that decision. That is for them to make. Certainly, in the short term it is my understanding that we have offered them, or have found, temporary accommodation within the Phillip precinct.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Ms Lawder.

MS LAWDER: Minister, what other options may be made available for parents who will be without placement for their children if or when Precious Momentz moves to Queanbeyan?

MS BURCH: Parents have the option of actually taking their kids to the site, to wherever they relocate, should that be Queanbeyan, or to enrol them in other childcare places. Certainly, the regulation unit in the Education and Training Directorate are working with the service. They are quite happy to work with families as we can and to make information available on what are the other centres and services in place and to do all we can. But when these are private arrangements between families that have an arrangement with a company—a centre such as Precious Momentz—there is support we can offer but there are very few levers we can pull to directly help the families.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Doszpot.

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