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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 7 Hansard (5 August) . .

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Legislation (Penalty Units) Amendment Bill 2014

Statement by minister

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for the Environment and Minister for Capital Metro), by leave: I wish to make a statement in relation to the corrected introduction speech for the Legislation (Penalty Units) Amendment Bill I just tabled. When I made that speech to the Assembly on 3 June I incorrectly stated the current penalty unit amounts in the territory as $110 for an individual and $550 for a corporation. The error was identified in the following June sittings of the Assembly. The current amounts as provided in section 133 of the Legislation Act are, in fact, $140 for an individual and $700 for a corporation. My incorrect statement was a result of an error in the introductory statement prepared by my directorate and, therefore, I am correcting the record.

Child care

Discussion of matter of public importance

MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Ms Lawder): Madam Speaker has received letters from Ms Berry, Dr Bourke, Ms Lawder, Ms Porter and Mr Wall proposing that matters of public importance be submitted to the Assembly. In accordance with standing order 79, Madam Speaker has determined that the matter proposed by Ms Berry be submitted to the Assembly, namely:

The importance of investing in quality childcare and early education in the ACT

MS BERRY (Ginninderra) (4:03): I am happy to take this opportunity to speak about an issue that is very important to me and the ACT community—that is, quality early childhood education and care in the ACT. I know there is a lot of hope, discussion and concern surrounding the Productivity Commission's draft report into child care and early learning, and it is, therefore, timely that we step back and consider why the ACT government's investment in early childhood education and care is so critical and so timely.

I know I do not have to convince anyone in this chamber that accessible and affordable care is a necessity for working parents. What I think is just as important is to recognise that the need in our community extends beyond simply having access to child care. Through national and international research we are becoming more and more aware of how a child's earlier experiences impact on their later health, development and educational outcomes. As a mum whose children attended early childhood education and care, it reinforces what I know about what parents value in early childhood education. When I enrolled my children in early childhood education, I was not just looking for the cheapest or most convenient care—it had to be quality.

Historically the focus of education academics has been on that of children over three years, but the research that is developing now shows that the first three years of life are particularly influential in a child's brain developing. While physical care of infants is important, so too are the interactions and experiences that will lay the foundations for all aspects of their learning and development. That is why it is important that the national early years learning framework recognises children as learners from birth.

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