Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 02 Hansard (Thursday, 24 March 2022) . . Page.. 566 ..
It should go without saying that one of the best ways to attract quality staff and retain them is to give them permanent employment—to support them, train them and show them how valued they are. Sadly, this government has a lot to learn about fostering a healthy and positive work culture in our health system to ensure that our hardworking staff want to go to work and stay.
MS STEPHEN-SMITH (Kurrajong—Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Families and Community Services and Minister for Health) (11.00), in reply: Without responding to every point Ms Castley made, I will reiterate my offer to her, made when she became shadow health minister, that she is welcome to briefings at any time and note that she has not, in fact, taken up a single offer of briefing on the response to the pandemic. She is welcome to do so at any time, including on the issues that she has raised. Obviously, we have a range of temporary staff positions to respond to the pandemic, but we are very, very happy to provide her with further information on that, if she would like to take up that offer.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Best Start for Canberra’s Children—first 1,000 days strategy
MS STEPHEN-SMITH (Kurrajong—Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Families and Community Services and Minister for Health) (11.01): I rise to provide an update to the Legislative Assembly on the important work that the ACT government is undertaking in partnership with the community to develop and begin implementation of the Best Start for Canberra’s Children: First 1,000 Days strategy.
The ACT government wants every child in Canberra to reach their full potential in life. We provide a range of effective support programs and services that contribute to great outcomes for children in their first 1,000 days of life, including our Maternal and Child Health—MACH—nurses, who support parents and newborn babies as they grow and reach milestones. We know how important this time is in a child’s and family’s life, but we also know that not everyone has the same experience. Most children born in Canberra have a great start in life because their families and carers have the resources and opportunities to nurture their child’s health and wellbeing, and they have strong family and community connections that allow children to grow healthily and to flourish.
We know parents want to provide the best possible start for their kids, but despite our higher-than-average incomes in Canberra, there are many families in our community who do not have all that they need to thrive. These children and families do not have the village they need. Children experiencing disadvantage do not share equally in the benefits of growing up in our city and consequently may experience poor social, health and wellbeing outcomes over the course of their lives. If poorer outcomes occur early in a child’s life, this can establish or entrench a cycle of intergenerational disadvantage.