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Wednesday, 29 November 2000
Page: 20206

Senator Mark Bishop asked the Minister for Family and Community Services, upon notice, on 14 September 2000:

(1) Who made this decision.

(2) What were the specific reasons for the decision.

(3) On which section of what Act was the decision based.

(4) Does the Minister have the authority to stay the proceedings pending an investigation into the process that lead to the decision; if so, will she consider taking this action.

Senator Newman (Minster for Family and Community Services and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Status of Women) —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

(1) The Assistant Secretary of the Child Care Services Branch of the Department of Family and Community Services made the decision to terminate funding to the Lower Great Southern Association.

(2) The decision was made because the service breached its funding agreement in several areas. These included:

Failure to resolve complaints from parents

Failure to put in place an effective complaints resolution process

Failure to arrange for suitable participation of staff in management decisions

Failure to ensure compliance with Paragraph 4.2(f) of the funding agreement and Family Day Care Handbook Chapter 3.9 (which is now Chapter 3.6 of the new Handbook), which requires service-providers to provide quality care and the monitoring of quality.

(3) The funding is made as a grant and is not covered by an Act of Parliament. The decision to terminate funding was in accordance with the funding agreement between the Commonwealth and the Association.

(4) The process followed by the Department was in accordance with the terms of the funding agreement with the Association. Minister Anthony's Office has been fully informed throughout the process. There is no need to investigate the process.