Page 292 - Week 01 - Thursday, 27 February 2014

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MR DOSZPOT: Minister, when did you first become aware of this situation?

MS BURCH: I do not know the exact date, but it was certainly in very recent times—in the last couple of weeks is my memory.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Doszpot.

MR DOSZPOT: Minister, how can the community maintain trust in this government to support child care in the ACT?

MS BURCH: I missed the first bit but I think it was about how can the community have trust in this government in supporting child care?

Mr Doszpot: Yes.

MS BURCH: I will go to the numbers I read out earlier this week: over 2,000 places just in the last two years; effectively, a doubling of childcare places in the decade that this government has been in office; significant millions of dollars that this government has put in to support childcare services here in the ACT; and the complete absence of any commitment, any promise, any activity from the Canberra Liberals.

I also go to the scholarships that we have put in place to support the workforce. As I indicated earlier this week, 71 per cent of the long day care services, and, I believe, after and before-school care, are provided by large community organisations. I think that, out of the services, 40 per cent of the long day cares are government owned, and we offer them subsidised rating. So you ask what we do. We have doubled the places. Just under my watch alone, there are over 2,000 places, with 600 coming online this year; significant moneys into bricks and mortar; and moneys going into supporting the workforce. I think that is a clear demonstration that this government, under my watch, under this portfolio, shows a clear commitment to childcare services.

National Arboretum Canberra—anniversary

MS PORTER: My question is to the Chief Minister in her capacity as the minister responsible for the National Arboretum. Minister, can you provide information to the Assembly on the first year of the arboretum’s operation and how the first year will be celebrated?

MS GALLAGHER: I welcome Ms Porter’s continuing interest in the National Arboretum. The arboretum has had a very successful first year since it publicly opened on 2 February 2013 to kick off the centenary year. With over 520,000 visitors since its opening, the arboretum is fast becoming an iconic Canberra destination. It serves as a reason to visit Canberra as well as a unique place to reflect on our city’s history. The arboretum also serves as an outlet for the community, through the excellent work that is done by the Friends of the National Arboretum Canberra, one of the largest friends groups in the ACT, and the many volunteering opportunities as well as the events and programs the arboretum offers.

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