Page 3946 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 1 December 2021

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calling VL1CP and telling a police car where to attend at any particular time. ACT Policing have the knowledge. Their criminal experts have the knowledge on where crime is occurring. They have done a very good job, Madam Speaker. You have seen that the recent results across ACT Policing and crime stats across the ACT dropped dramatically, particularly in areas of Gungahlin and the Molonglo region, some 40 per cent, and across the jurisdictions of the ACT at some 30 per cent. I congratulate them. They are doing a fantastic job.

MR HANSON: Minister, you said that this will not affect how police respond, but the Chief Police Officer said this morning, “We will be less responsive.” Minister, who is telling the truth?

MR GENTLEMAN: I was very clear. I said that this will not change the way they respond to crime that is happening at this time. They will use their resources to respond to crime that is happening in the territory in the priority decisions that they make daily.

Education—early childhood teachers

MR HANSON: My question is to the Minister for Education. Minister, a central plank of quality early childhood education is qualified early childhood teachers. In your response dated 1 November 2021 to question taken on notice ECI7, you advised that in 2020-21, 48 temporary waivers were granted across 262 early childhood services, allowing those services to operate without the legislated number of early childhood teachers. This represents an understaffing level of nearly one in five teaching positions. Minister, how will the government deliver its promise of more education to 500 priority three-year-olds when there is already a one in five shortage of teachers now?

MS BERRY: I am impressed that the spokesperson for education is interested in early childhood education and the outcomes for young people in our community, particularly the ACT government’s strategy to improve early access to early childhood education through our preschool system by expanding preschool access to three-year-olds. The reason why we have been carefully phasing in the early childhood strategy to expand free preschool education to three-year-olds—making sure that it is targeted to young people who need that support most and to understand how the sector can manage with regard to the increase in the number of young people who are accessing free early childhood education funded by the ACT government—is to ensure that we have the appropriate staffing, the appropriate infrastructure and that we that we are targeting early childhood education to those young people and their families who need it most.

We have explained that a number of times in this place. It is very detailed in the ACT government’s early childhood strategy, Set Up for Success, that the ACT government’s priority is to make sure that every child, regardless of their background, gets the best possible start in early childhood education by expanding it to three-year-olds. What we have seen, however, is that the federal government, despite numerous requests to expand four-year-old preschool to three-year-olds, has come back with blank looks and a misunderstanding of what early childhood development

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