Childcare policies on table
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Childcare policies on table

CANBERRA has the most expensive childcare in the country according to the childcare workers' union, United Voice, but only the Labor and Pirates parties have released specific policies to address issues affecting working parents.

There is also a shortage of childcare places across the territory with the Civic Early Childhood Centre's application process for 70 spaces next year already overflowing with more than 200 children on the waiting list.

ACT Community Services Minister Joy Burch at the Binara Early Childhood Centre.

ACT Community Services Minister Joy Burch at the Binara Early Childhood Centre.

Photo: Stuart Walmsley

The United Voice report released this year found the ACT topped the list for the most expensive childcare at $82.43 a day - up 9 per cent.

The Sunday Canberra Times asked the major parties where they stand on childcare issues for territory voters, who go to the polls on October 20.

If re-elected, Labor will spend $4.5 illion to expand existing community-based centres and create up to 100 new childcare places. Community Services Minister Joy Burch promised to release land for new centres in Belconnen, Tuggeranong and Woden that would allow for about 120 new places at each site. Ms Burch said Labor was committed to spending $740,000 on Certificate III scholarships to allow early-childhood workers to further their education and a further $6000 each on 25 scholarships for workers to do their degree in early-childhood education.

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Liberal MLA Vicki Dunne said in an emailed statement the opposition was very concerned about childcare in the territory.

''Our childcare policy will be released in the coming weeks, and we would implement centralised waiting lists if we came into government,'' Ms Dunne said. ''We're very concerned that ACT childcare is the most expensive in the country, the lack of childcare places available for children under two years of age, and the amount of red tape which is stifling the sector.''

But Ms Burch said the Liberal Party's centralised waiting list pledge denied families choice and was not supported by the industry.

Greens leader Meredith Hunter said the crossbench party would not be releasing a specific childcare policy.

''Part of what we need to do is make sure we have enough childcare places to meet needs and so we are supportive of the building of some new childcare centres,'' Ms Hunter said.

She said the childcare centre opened at the old Flynn school was a good example of government working with providers.

Pirate Party candidate for Brindabella Mark Gibbons said if elected the Pirates would reduce the budget for political ''announceables'' and instead provide greater funds direct to community groups.

''We will align ACT reporting standards imposed on community groups to better match national standards, and simplify the reporting burden where we can,'' Mr Gibbons said. ''We will also look into ways to support community groups with public liability insurance, and ways to develop better information sharing so community groups are kept information of changes in government policy.''