The Liberals’ Vicki Dunne has taken the very brave step of announcing she’s going to try and block the construction of a childcare centre in Holder:
In 2008, the ACT Labor Government promised two new childcare centres at a cost of $4 million. Neither has been built, but the government now wants to spend almost double that amount on just one centre in Holder. ACT Shadow Family and Community Services Minister Vicki Dunne will today ask the Assembly to support her call for the government to consider asking the community or private sector to build the centre.
“The $7.5 million taxpayer-funded Holder childcare centre ACT Labor is proposing to build will cost around $60,000 per place,” Mrs Dunne said today.
“Just recently, a community organisation built Harrison childcare centre at just under $28,000 per place.
“We wholeheartedly support the need for more childcare spaces in the ACT, but we don’t support the government spending 200 per cent of its original childcare centre budget while delivering only 50 per cent of its promise.
UPDATE 28/03/12 13:04: Minister for Community Services Joy Burch’s office has this response:
It says a lot about just how out of touch the Canberra Liberals are on the issue of childcare that they are now opposing the establishment of additional childcare centres in Canberra.
Mrs Dunne is right in saying that ACT Labor promised to build two childcare centres at the 2008 ACT Election, however she is wrong in saying that neither has been delivered. The completion and opening of the Flynn Early Childhood Education Centre (115 places) in January this year fulfilled part of that promise. The construction of Holder will complete this commitment, however, in addition to these centres the Government also funded in the 2011-12 ACT Budget the construction of a childcare centre in Franklin as part of the $42.7 million Franklin Early Childhood Centre. This means the ACT Government is over-delivering on this commitment.
In addition, a number of sites around Canberra have been, or will be sold in the coming months for the specific purpose of childcare centre, ensuring that centres are established by the private sector in areas of demand.
In contrast, the Canberra Liberals’ 2008 Election policies did not even mention childcare, and since then the only childcare policy from the Canberra Liberals has been to create an ACT Government-run centralised childcare waiting list, which would take away the choice for parents of which centre their child attends and would create a bureaucratic burden for centre operators.