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Wednesday, 17 September 2008
Page: 7841

Mr Abbott asked the Minister for Education, in writing, on 18 June 2008:

(1)   Does the Government intend to conduct an open tender process to determine who will run the new childcare centres announced in the 2008 Budget; if so: (a) how will the Government incorporate into any tender process her promise to take into account a potential provider’s “track record of providing affordable care”; and (b) will there be a definition of “affordable care” in the tender documents or will this criterion be left to the personal judgment of the tender assessment team.

(2)   How will the Government ensure that these new centres do not have a competitive advantage against existing centres.

Ms Gillard (Minister for Education, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations and Minister for Social Inclusion) —The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

(1)   and (2) The Australian Government is working with the States and Territories to determine how best to partner to deliver the 260 centres on the ground. In some cases, the relevant State may choose to provide the land, such as a school site, and manage the construction process, in which case the Australian Government will partner with the State for the delivery of that centre. In some cases, Local Government may also contribute. In other cases, including where the Australian Government is partnering with the relevant State, non-government partners will be sought via a competitive process. Selection criteria relating to the other Early Learning and Care Centres have not been finalised. For probity reasons all information relating to a tender process must be made available to all potential applicants at the same time. Therefore, it would be inappropriate to provide the details of specific criteria ahead of any future tender process. The Australian Government has traditionally delivered a wide range of programs offering support for the establishment and ongoing sustainability of child care services to address areas of market failure.