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Monday, 22 September 2014
Page: 9973

Indigenous Affairs

Mr SHORTEN (MaribyrnongLeader of the Opposition) (15:06): My question is to the Prime Minister. This month I visited the Bubup Wilam Early Learning Centre in Thomastown. It is a centre that provides vital early education help and family support services for vulnerable Indigenous children and families. This centre is now one of 38 centres across Australia facing closure because of the Prime Minister's cuts to Indigenous services. Why should the children who go there, and their parents, pay for the Prime Minister's broken promises.

Mr ABBOTT (WarringahPrime Minister) (15:06): I fear that members opposite are in fact misleading the House in this area. I really do.

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: There will be silence on my left.

Mr Shorten interjecting

The SPEAKER: The Leader of the Opposition will desist.

Mr ABBOTT: My recollection of this is that the former government did make capital funding available for Indigenous childcare centres.

Ms Kate Ellis interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Adelaide is warned.

Mr ABBOTT: It made no recurrent funding available and the capital funding came out, as I understand it, on 1 July this year. So members opposite, when they were in government, made capital funding available. The capital funding that they made available ceased, as I understand it, on 1 July and they never made recurrent funding available because, quite properly, they thought recurrent funding for preschools should be provided by state and territory governments. I know they have got—

Mr Shorten interjecting

Mr Hockey interjecting

The SPEAKER: The Leader of the Opposition and the Treasurer will desist.

Mr ABBOTT: Members opposite cannot help themselves. They think that more money is the answer to every single problem. The reality is that if there have been any cuts in this particular area, they are cuts put in place by the former government.