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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 8 Hansard (13 August) . .

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black and white of politics, see beyond the negativeness and go to their counterparts and support this motion to ensure that the 15 hours of universal access funding is continued for Canberra families.

MS BERRY (Ginninderra) (10.36), in reply: I thank members for their contributions to the conversation around early childhood education and universal access for preschoolers in the ACT. I wanted to draw to Mr Doszpot's attention the Education and Training Directorate's submission to the Productivity Commission. It can be found on the Education and Training Directorate website. It has a link encouraging Canberrans to submit to the Productivity Commission's inquiry. The Productivity Commission's website also notes that this was one of the submissions that was publicised.

Because he has kind of flip-flopped around early childhood education and care and universal access, I thought I would address some of the issues and read from the Education and Training Directorate's submission around early childhood education. I will do this to aid his ongoing and future learning in this area of early childhood education.

The submission talks about the national quality framework. It has an increased focus on the quality of the educational program and practice in the ACT, particularly in long day care and in family day care services. It states that the provision of a highly skilled and professional education and care workforce continues to be a significant task, with a number of strategies being undertaken by the government in this sector.

The submission then goes on to talk about the ACT government acknowledging the progress that has been made in the education and care workforce. However, there is more work to be done to ensure that the workforce is sustainable and sufficiently skilled to implement quality standards. The ACT government, in partnership with the Children's Educators ACT Forum, developed the ACT education and care workforce strategy 2012-2014. It outlines a shared commitment to implement initiatives in order to attract new educators, retain existing educators, develop workforce skills and increase the professional profile of the sector in the community.

Minister Burch and I have talked at length in this place about the challenges to provide quality education and attracting educators to the sector on such low wages. A person from certificate III to diploma level is paid somewhere between $17 and $23 an hour. In a male dominated workforce, a diploma qualification would attract $10 to $15 an hour more. It is extraordinarily difficult to attract educators to a sector to provide the highest quality education.

This has all been encouraging work from the ACT government in support of the national quality framework and recognising the important work that educators do. It has been well supported by the sector in the ACT and across the country. The national quality framework has meant that not only are the qualifications of the people who work in this sector recognised. How care and education are provided is also recognised.

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