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Monday, 26 November 2012
Page: 13273

Mrs GRIGGS (Solomon) (10:54): A few weeks ago, in celebration of World Teachers' Day, I was invited to the Top End Early Learning Centre. This fantastic childcare centre in my electorate, like many others, provides outstanding service to the people of Darwin and Palmerston. The coalition understands the demand for centres like this across the country and the pressure working mums and dads face as they try to gain access to affordable child care. My constituents face some of the highest cost-of-living pressures in the country and this has only been compounded by the Gillard Labor government's toxic carbon tax on everything. In September 2011 it was estimated that one in every four children between the ages of zero and 12 require some type of childcare arrangement. Under the Gillard Labor government, childcare prices have risen by 20 per cent. They just do not understand the detrimental impact this has on the parents of my electorate who wish to either remain or return to the workforce and rely on child care. The coalition will, if elected at the next election, ask the Productivity Commission to undertake an inquiry into childcare centres. We understand that childcare needs have changed and that families struggle to meet the high cost.

We also understand the need for the continuing support of outstanding service providers like the Top End Early Learning Centre. Betty McKinlay, the director, and her staff at the Top End Early Learning Centre provide an excellent service to the community. I wish to recognise their fabulous contribution. Staff who were there on the day included Kim McKinlay, Shane McGregor, Lucia Vieira, Sinead Hearne, Sharon Brander, Aimee Bell, Belinda Waites, Kendall Gates, Michaeline Tinkham, Marj Plant, Violet Burnett, Taemi Kondo, Yen Tran, Sharon Jolley, Kayla Ralph, Linda Beames and Pauline Williams. I thank all of these wonderful staff for the excellent contribution that they make. The Top End Early Learning Centre is a fantastic facility and provides an outstanding community service to my electorate. It was my pleasure to present them with the appreciation awards. It was delightful to see the faces of the staff when they were recognised and acknowledged for the work that they do. I thank Betty McKinlay, who is the director, for inviting me to come along to the centre and for her initiative of creating the appreciation awards. It was wonderful to see first-hand the fabulous work that the staff carry out at this amazing facility and I look forward to going back there.