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Thursday, 5 December 2013
Page: 1801

Child Care


Mrs WICKS (Robertson) (14:50): My question is to the Assistant Minister for Education. I remind the minister that childcare groups and parents in my electorate of Robertson have told me of the burden that the previous government childcare rules and regulations placed on costs for centres and parents. Will the minister tell the House how the government plans to fix the red-tape mess and reduce costs?


Ms LEY (FarrerAssistant Minister for Education) (14:51): It is a pleasure to take a question from the member for Robertson—her first question on the day of her first speech. I listened to the speech and reflected on her commitment to her constituents, particularly her view that flexibility in child care is incredibly important for those on the Central Coast who make that long commute to Sydney and for whom Labor's red-tape mess in child care has forced costs up and made much of the child care in Robertson either unavailable or unaffordable. We went to the election with a strong commitment about red tape. We intend to honour that, and we have made a very good start.

I would like to report to the House that at the education ministers meeting last week I sat down with state and territory ministers and talked about reducing the red tape in child care. Under those opposite, this red tape has been a burden for far too long. Unfortunately, when red tape goes up, common sense goes down. Nobody in the Labor Party is the least bit interested in this, because the Labor Party treats red tape like a security blanket, something to wrap around the work that they do not do, the innovation that they do not support, the services that they do not care about.

Mr Perrett: What—you're going to have free-range kids in the childcare centres!

The SPEAKER: The member for Moreton will remove himself under 94(a).

The member for Moreton then left the chamber.

Ms LEY: At the moment under Labor's red tape mess there are 58 elements in the quality standard that centres have to pass in their assessment and rating process. Some centres report that it can take up to 200 days to get a draft report back to the centre. The problem is with the inconsistency of this assessment and rating. Centres email me daily with their experiences—experiences which I have to say are ridiculous.

Last week I reported to the House on the expenses that centres are facing around the carbon tax. One centre got a 'working towards' rating—which is, let's face it, not very good—because they were too dark, because they turned the lights off for an hour so that the children could recognise Earth Hour. They did not exactly get the best rating that they could. Childcare centres just cannot win under Labor's hypocrisy. Another example is that you cannot administer first aid on school sites if you are not an educator, even if you are the school nurse. That is another example of Labor's completely ridiculous red tape and regulation. Who can forget the birthday cake example, where the member for Adelaide and the member for Sydney talked about the individual cupcakes with an individual candle because they were too worried about germs in childcare centres? What about the sanitising every time you get in and out of the sandpit? There are sanitiser stations sprinkled around the yards. (Time expired)