Another rupture has appeared between the Liberals' and Nationals' commitments to community services.
The latest apparent spilt is over the issue of family centres - a successful Labor Government concept, endorsed by the Opposition.
On Saturday, Opposition Family spokesman Hilda Turnbull slammed the Government's family centre plans as expenditure on bricks and mortar. This was despite the Opposition's promise, just three weeks ago, of a $5 million expansion of family centres over four years.
Family and Community Development Minister Eric Ripper said today the Government was committed to building 24 extra family centres across the State in an $8.5 million program over the next three years. This would be on top of the existing 40 family centres.
Community-managed family centres provided developmental programs for four-year-old children, and were also a community focus for a broad range of activities such as parent support, family counselling, toy libraries, public meetings and self-help groups.
"Dr Turnbull has once again shown that she is at odds with the Liberal position, just as she is at odds with any commitment to providing child care outside homes," Mr Ripper said.
"The Opposition supports building more family centres, and yet Dr Turnbull denigrates their effectiveness - the Opposition purports to support child care outside the home, and yet Dr Turnbull has told Parliament that `... the provision of child care centres is an expenditure of money which the State and Federal Governments cannot afford ...'."
Mr Ripper said the Parliamentary record (Hansard) of September, 1991, showed the National's true colours when Dr Turnbull said `... why should we encourage more women into the workforce at a time when jobs are so scarce for everyone ...'.
"These splits between the Liberal and National parties indicate that community services are set for a torrid time if the Opposition has its way, particularly given that the National Party provided the Opposition spokesman for the Family," he said.
"Liberal Deputy Colin Barnett has let slip that the Opposition plans to axe `dozens and dozens' of Government programs, and this hardly gels with other claims that no public service jobs will be lost."