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Thursday, 25 May 1989
Page: 2765

Senator REID(9.56) —I thank the Minister for his answer. In a sense, there are two parts to this matter. One concerns the siting of the facility. It is clear from the departmental answer that a number of other situations could have been used.

Senator Walsh —That is true. It was a Cabinet decision. There were about 15 possible sites.

Senator REID —Yes. The other aspect of the matter is whether this is the best means of using Government money to provide child-care for people in genuine need. This facility is going to cost a considerable amount of money to build. The information that I have seen indicates that placing a child in a government centre costs considerably more than in a private centre. In Canberra there are private centres that are extremely well run. As was indicated at the Estimates hearings, they are monitored by the Department, and no one challenges the Department's expertise. These private centres are extremely good. If children in need were placed in private child-care centres and the parents were subsidised, it would be possible to get a lot more children into child-care than I believe is possible in providing for them in the way proposed. Is there no way of using the money to better advantage to ensure that the children who really need child-care so that their mothers can get on with the lives are the ones who get it?